Did I experience ‘uncanny bracket creep’ last night at the National Portrait Gallery, at In the Flesh? I remember the little intake of breath I took ten or so years ago when I saw my first Ron Mueck or Patricia Piccinini sculpture, or the little retinal undulation at my first glimpse of a figure flipping for a few milliseconds between the real and the unreal. But seeing the same sculptures again now, palisaded behind their PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH SIGNS, and theatrically lit like David Jones manikins, all I saw was plastic. Was I like an avid cinema goer in the 1950s who had viscerally thrilled at King Kong in 1930s, but seeing him again at the drive-in was able to finally laugh off his plasticine jerks? Had the general advances of the technologies of verisimilitude retrained my sensorium, and rehoned my perceptual scepticism, leaving these sculptures behind along with all the other uncanny automata going back to the eighteenth century?