Hyperrealism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 1970s. Carole Feuerman is the forerunner in the hyperrealism movement along with Duane Hanson and John De Andrea.
The hyper-realism is an art form, painting and sculpture, but also includes photography and film. The realism has always been an important element in the series of styles in art. Hyperrealism is a further development of realism and is related to pop art. His ideal is not necessarily an exact replica true to life, as is typical of realism, but a photorealistic exaggeration of reality, an “exaggerated reality”. The abstraction is rejected.
An essential element of hyperrealism is the artist’s waiving of subjective interpretation. Hyperrealism uses means of expression of photo realism, in which image content is painted with a level of detail reminiscent of a photograph. While photo-realism wants to be beautiful above all through the brilliant, realistic representation, the hyperrealism in the representation cool and profane “exaggeratedly disturbing” reality poses the question of the nature of things in an almost ironic, existential context. For example, the landscape paintings by Gottfried Helnweinmostly works of photo realism, since they are primarily “beautiful” but do not have the disturbing character of his portraits. However, due to the scars and wounds made visible by the artist, these are more likely to be assigned to hyperrealism; the boundaries are fluid, and it is “irrelevant whether these pictures are photographed or painted”.
Belgian art dealer Isy Brachot coined the French word Hyperréalisme, meaning Hyperrealism, as the title of a major exhibition and catalogue at his gallery in Brussels in 1973. The exhibition was dominated by such American Photorealists as Ralph Goings, Chuck Close, Don Eddy, Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean; but it included such influential European artists as Domenico Gnoli, Gerhard Richter, Konrad Klapheck, and Roland Delcol. Since then, Hyperealisme has been used by European artists and dealers to apply to painters influenced by the Photorealists. Among contemporary European hyperrealist painters we find Gottfried Helnwein (Austrian), Willem van Veldhuizen and Tjalf Sparnaay (Dutch), Roger Wittevrongel (Belgian), as well as the French Pierre Barraya, Jacques Bodin, Ronald Bowen, François Bricq, Gérard Schlosser, Jacques Monory, Bernard Rancillac, Gilles Aillaud and Gérard Fromanger.
Early 21st century Hyperrealism was founded on the aesthetic principles of Photorealism. American painter Denis Peterson, whose pioneering works are universally viewed as an offshoot of Photorealism, first used “Hyperrealism” to apply to the new movement and its splinter group of artists. Graham Thompson wrote “One demonstration of the way photography became assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealist painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also called super-realism or hyper-realism and painters like Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, and Chuck Close often worked from photographic stills to create paintings that appeared to be photographs.”
However, Hyperrealism is contrasted with the literal approach found in traditional photorealist paintings of the late 20th century. Hyperrealist painters and sculptors use photographic images as a reference source from which to create a more definitive and detailed rendering, one that often, unlike Photorealism, is narrative and emotive in its depictions. Strict Photorealist painters tended to imitate photographic images, omitting or abstracting certain finite detail to maintain a consistent over-all pictorial design. They often omitted human emotion, political value, and narrative elements. Since it evolved from Pop Art, the photorealistic style of painting was uniquely tight, precise, and sharply mechanical with an emphasis on mundane, everyday imagery.
Hyperrealism, although photographic in essence, often entails a softer, much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living, tangible object. These objects and scenes in Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a reality not seen in the original photo. That is not to say they’re surreal, as the illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself.
Hyperrealism has its roots in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, “the simulation of something which never really existed.” As such, Hyperrealists create a false reality, a convincing illusion based on a simulation of reality, the digital photograph. Hyperreal paintings and sculptures are an outgrowth of extremely high-resolution images produced by digital cameras and displayed on computers. As Photorealism emulated analog photography, Hyperrealism uses digital imagery and expands on it to create a new sense of reality. Hyperrealistic paintings and sculptures confront the viewer with the illusion of manipulated high-resolution images, though more meticulous.
Photorealism as a precursor to hyperrealism
In the 1920s, precision painters already worked with the help of faithfully reproduced photographs (as in the case of Charles Sheeler, painter and photographer at the same time). But it is undeniable that pop art continues to be the immediate precursor of hyperrealism, since it takes the iconography of the everyday, remains faithful to the distance of its focus and produces the same neutral and static images.
The photorealists never formed a group, but they did make exhibitions that presented them as one style: The Photographic Image and 22 Realists, both in New York, in the mid-1960s. At that time, abstraction was the dominant trend and realism was frowned upon; It was considered an art that copied from photographs or reality and without any interest. However, artists like Chuck Close or Richard Estes developed totally new techniques for representing reality, achieving sometimes astonishing results.
Other American artists of this trend are Don Eddy, John Salt, Ralph Goings, Robert Cottingham, John Kacere, Paul Staiger, Richard McLean, Malcolm Morley and John de Andrea.
Like all photorealists, there are no traces of brushstrokes and the artist seems to be absent; the paintings are covered with a thin layer of paint, applied with a gun and brush, being scraped if necessary, with a blade so that there is no relief, no matter. Added to this is the accuracy in the details. By using the frame in the process of reality, what is broken and manipulated twice (both in the frame and in the photograph), thus differentiating traditional realism from photorealism.
It is thanks to this type of art that Hyperrealism is born.
Today’s hyperrealism was founded on the aesthetic principles of photorealism. The American painter Denis Peterson, whose pioneering works are universally viewed as a branch of photorealism, first used the term “hyperrealism” to apply to the new movement and its dissident group of artists.
Graham Thompson wrote: “A demonstration of how photography was assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealistic painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also called super realism or hyperrealism and painters like Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack and Chuck Close often worked from photographs to create paintings that appeared to be photographs. ”
However, hyperrealism is contrasted with the literal approach found in traditional photorealistic paintings of the late 20th century. Hyperrealist painters and sculptors use photographic images as a reference source to create a more definitive and detailed representation, which is often, unlike photorealism, narrative and emotional in their representations. Strict photorealistic painters tended to imitate photographic images, omitting or abstracting certain finite details to maintain an overall consistent pictorial design. They often omitted human emotion, political courage, and narrative elements. Ever since it evolved from Pop Art, the photorealistic style of painting has been uniquely tight, precise, and keenly mechanical, with an emphasis on mundane, everyday images.
Hyperrealism, while photographic in essence, often involves a softer, much more complex approach to the subject being portrayed, presenting it as a living, tangible object. These objects and scenes in hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a reality not seen in the original photo. This does not mean that they are surreal, since the illusion is a convincing representation of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear lighter and clearer than the reference photo or even the subject itself.
Regarding American hyper-realistic sculpture, we must highlight Duane Hanson, who reproduces life-size characters from the working classes, and Segal, who uses the same technique as Hanson: casting plaster casts, filling the molds with fiberglass. glass and polyester, assembly of the parts and painted in flesh color; The piece is finished by dressing it with used clothes. John de Andrea sculpts nudes of hyperrealism so pronounced that they look like real people, just as Nancy Graves does with her camel sculptures.
Some of the most relevant figures of hyperrealism would be the painters Antonio López, Eduardo Naranjo or Gregorio Palomo.
In the current art market, the most consolidated figures for his career are the Chilean Claudio Bravo, who through his still lifes, drawings and, especially, his series of paintings on fabrics, packages and papers, has managed to reinvent hyperrealism, giving it a status almost metaphysical; and the Argentine Enrique Sobisch, who lives and died in Madrid, whose works, of great artistic perfection, compete with the photographic snapshot.
In painting, this direction is particularly represented by Chuck Monroe, Don Eddy, Claudio Bravo, Chuck Close, Richard Estes, Ralph Goings, Audrey Flack, Vija Celmins, Franz Gertsch, Rudolf Häsler or Gottfried Helnwein. Contemporary artists who work with hyper-realistic means include Jeff Koons, Ron Mueck and Luigi Rocca as well as the airbrushers Hajime Sorayama, Gerard Boersma and Dru Blairand numerous other artists (in Germany, for example, Maximilian Pfalzgraf, Günther Hermann, Lars Reiffers, Dietmar Gross or Roland H. Heyder with his “Fantastic Realism”). The Swede Tommy TC Carlsson works with hyper-realistic stylistic devices in his object art (“Modern Illusion Art”). Roland Delcol, born in Brussels in 1942, is an idiosyncratic representative between hyperrealism and today’s postmodern pluralism.
Style and methods
The Hyperrealist style focuses much more of its emphasis on details and the subjects. Hyperreal paintings and sculptures are not strict interpretations of photographs, nor are they literal illustrations of a particular scene or subject. Instead, they use additional, often subtle, pictorial elements to create the illusion of a reality which in fact either does not exist or cannot be seen by the human eye. Furthermore, they may incorporate emotional, social, cultural and political thematic elements as an extension of the painted visual illusion; a distinct departure from the older and considerably more literal school of Photorealism.
Hyperrealist painters and sculptors make allowances for some mechanical means of transferring images to the canvas or mold, including preliminary drawings or grisaille underpaintings and molds. Photographic slide projections or multi media projectors are used to project images onto canvases and rudimentary techniques such as gridding may also be used to ensure accuracy. Sculptures utilize polyesters applied directly onto the human body or mold. Hyperrealism requires a high level of technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate a false reality. As such, Hyperrealism incorporates and often capitalizes upon photographic limitations such as depth of field, perspective and range of focus. Anomalies found in digital images, such as fractalization, are also exploited to emphasize their digital origins by some Hyperrealist painters, such as Chuck Close, Denis Peterson, Bert Monroy and Robert Bechtle.
Subject matter ranges from portraits, figurative art, still life, landscapes, cityscapes and narrative scenes. The more recent hyperrealist style is much more literal than Photorealism as to exact pictorial detail with an emphasis on social, cultural or political themes. This also is in stark contrast to the newer concurrent Photorealism with its continued avoidance of photographic anomalies. Hyperrealist painters at once simulate and improve upon precise photographic images to produce optically convincing visual illusions of reality, often in a social or cultural context.
Some hyperrealists have exposed totalitarian regimes and third world military governments through their narrative depictions of the legacy of hatred and intolerance. Denis Peterson and Gottfried Helnwein depicted political and cultural deviations of societal decadence in their work. Peterson’s work focused on diasporas, genocides and refugees. Helnwein developed unconventionally narrative work that centered on past, present and future deviations of the Holocaust. Provocative subjects include enigmatic imagery of genocides, their tragic aftermath and the ideological consequences. Thematically, these controversial hyperreal artists aggressively confronted the corrupted human condition through narrative paintings as a phenomenological medium. These lifelike paintings are an historical commentary on the grotesque mistreatment of human beings.
Hyperreal paintings and sculptures further create a tangible solidity and physical presence through subtle lighting and shading effects. Shapes, forms and areas closest to the forefront of the image visually appear beyond the frontal plane of the canvas; and in the case of sculptures, details have more clarity than in nature. Hyperrealistic images are typically 10 to 20 times the size of the original photographic reference source, yet retain an extremely high resolution in color, precision and detail. Many of the paintings are achieved with an airbrush, using acrylics, oils or a combination of both. Ron Mueck’s lifelike sculptures are scaled much larger or smaller than life and finished in incredibly convincing detail through the meticulous use of polyester resins and multiple molds. Bert Monroy’s digital images appear to be actual paintings taken from photographs, yet they are fully created on computers.
A critical view of hyperrealism emphasizes the unimaginative nature of the representation: “Hyperrealism wastes the possibilities that painting has in favor of a simple joke within the competition between painting and photography.” American hyperrealism in the 1960s and 1970s became European described as “American to caricature”: “This developed and widespread hyperrealism of Pop Art of the 60s was hyper-provocative and hyper-superficial and hyper-commercial.”