Victor Hugo once proclaimed, “Dear God! How beauty varies in nature and art. In a woman the flesh must be like marble; in a statue the marble must be like flesh.”
There is something so otherworldly about the genre of hyperrealism; hyperrealism being the act – the pure labour of love – in meticulously capturing complex human aesthetics, particularly relating to the human form, or focus on recreating massive amounts of visual realism and clarity to aesthetic objects, the outcomes can be quite unbelievable. Mostly employing materials such as clay (sculpting), resin and silicone (clarity/texture), hyperrealist sculptors capture every anatomical detail. No detail is neglected. Often taking months at a time to complete from start to finish (but is the piece ever really finished); perhaps our curiosity comes from the fact that not only are the impossibly realistic, but reate to our very real and urgent insatiability with (‘self-‘) representation, inevitably mediated by the internet and social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
But what fuels our continuing morbid obsession with the human form – removed from (Insta) filters, artificial lighting, abstracted angles or any sense of fakery that we have allbecome so used to in our everyday lives, hyperrealism showcases the human body in all of its plain(‘-ness) simplicity; highlighting the unappealing reality that we all exist within. Not only do such pieces allow their audience to interrogate our very immediate physical reality, but now removed from screens allows us to questions our artificially constructed visual perceptions.
Part-obsessions, part-painstaking craftsmanship each pieces tells its own story; the story of the ever narrowing (visual) aesthetic and (bodily) ideals in a quest to redefine/reestablish (artificial) perfection
THE STORY OF A DESECREATED WORLD
DESECRATE – defining as to treat (a scared place or thing) with violent disrespect; or to spoil. (de-, suggesting reversal)
- MARK SIJAN – raw human emotion and everyday situations
- XOOANG CHOI – bodily distortion and gender differences/distinctions
- SARAH SITKIN – technological influence in art and grotesque compositions
- JAXKIE K SEO –
- SUN YUAN & PENG YU – unconventional materials
- JAMIE SALMON – masive scale, unconventional materials
- FELIX DEAC – scale/composition; our fear of aesthetically humanoid creative/aesthetic creations
- TRENT TAFT – imaginary characters/prosthetics
- EVAN PENNY
- PARTICIA PICCININI
- MAURIZIO CATTELAN
- PAUL McCARTHY
- GEORGE SEGAL
- DUANE HANSON
- JOHN DeANDREA
- JUAN MUNÕS
- ***BERLINDE DE BRUYCKERE
- SAM JINKS
- MONICA COOK
- EMIL MELMOTH
- PAUL FRYER
- ***FRANCESCO ALBANO
- MEGHAN SMYTHE
- ETSUKO MIURA
- ARPAD SLANCIK
- ***SARAH BEST
Perhaps my obsession with hyperrealism is the way it can be animated within he exhibition space. How, in spite of our prowess with modern day photography and the ‘selfie-ism’ when the object – here our focus being the ‘human form’ is physically brought into the exhibition space allowing audiences to be physically affected by the pace, being able to touch and interact with it, very much unlike the dematerialised aspects of interacting with portraiture/self-representation in the online realm. But here hyperrealism can ben taken a step further. To animate the object, to create a counterpart to ourself as self-sustaining mammals, rivalling our very existence (much of what is discussed on modern-day sci-fi films/fiction/commentary), something that is not only being to tapped in to by modern day tech-companies.
The title is very true in this respect; the increasing blurring between flesh and the ‘other’ – not essentially clay in its entirety, but for the purpose of this discussion when discussing ‘hyperrealism in sculpture’ – in our continued efforts to simulate human flesh through technological means, to what end will be satisfied.
In one respect, once you have seen one, another is a small variation of the skilful craftsmanship it takes to create such a piece. Thus, in this respect my interests lean away from the idea of technique, and towards what such representation means, and why it continues to baffle us. The idea of the ‘uncanny’; the visual trickery and the emotional trickery. In studying human figuration and the tale of more than fifty years of hyperrealism’s existence, the visible differences between the many genres contained within hyperrealism are there: “Human replicas”; “Monochrome sculptures”; “Body parts”; “Playing with size”; and “Deformed realities”, ‘reveals the numerous and varied ways in which this artistic theme has been depicted its relationship with different trends in art history, and its technical evolution from the early years of the movement to the present digital era’.
Here, it is cleat that in spite of all the ways to recreate/simulate the human form, it is the human condition that is the essential binding factor that connects such varied artistic endeavour; which defines as “the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality.”
© RAYVENN SHALEIGHA D’CLARK