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Hyperrealism

Related: hyperreality (philosophy) - Ron Mueck - Trevor Brown

Ron Mueck (2006) - Ron Mueck
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Definition

Hyperrealism is an emerging (International) school of painting, and a recognized outgrowth of the (American) school of photorealism. Through counterfeit photographic imagery, hyperrealist painters routinely create a simulated two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional reality. Hyperreal paintings are optically convincing visual illusions of reality based upon reductive photographic images that initially attempt to represent reality through the somewhat flattened version of physical forms typical of the monocular vision of a camera lens. Hyperreal paintings create an almost tangible solidity and physical presence through subtle lighting and shading effects to the point where shapes, forms and areas closest to the forefront of the image can appear beyond the frontal plane of the canvas. Hyperrealists include Alicia St. Rose, Jacques Bodin, Denis Peterson, Gottfried Helnwein, Latif Maulan, Suzana Stojanovic, Pedro Campos, Steve Mills, Luciano Ventrone, Bert Monroy (digital painter) and Ron Mueck (sculptor).

Certain of these hyperrealists have further incorporated social, cultural and political thematic elements as an extension of a visual simulacrum; a distinct departure from the school of Photorealism. Denis Peterson, Gottfried Helnwein, and Latif Maulan are three provocative hyperrealist painters who have depicted the political and cultural deviations of societal decadence, its enigmatic imagery, and the aftermath of its tragic, ideological and insane consequences. Thematically, these controversial artists aggressively confront the corrupted human condition specifically through paintings as a phenomenological medium that bears witness to what immediately becomes historical evidence of the often grotesque mistreatment of human beings in a hypersphere or hyperreality. As in quantum physics, one is never absolutely certain as to distinguishing victims from perpetrators.

Petersonís work has focused on diasporas, genocides and refugees around the globe by utilizing hyperrealism as a vehicle for political challenge through visually disturbing images that represent both a moment in time and a human condition. Helnwein developed a remarkable body of unconventional work around the past, present and future deviations of the Holocaust and its grotesque darkness. Maulanís work is primarily a hyperrealist critique of societyís universal disregard for the helpless, the needy and the disenfranchised. These three hyperrealists have exposed totalitarian regimes and raised political and moral conflicts with third world military governments through hyperreal depictions of the legacy of hatred and intolerance. Subjects of these iconoclastic artists are statuesque figures and stoic faces that eerily seem to share an internalized calm in the face of the surrounding horrors of deadly disease, impending torture, terrorizing fear and irrational hatred.

Early 21st century hyperrealism is contrasted with the similarly literal, photorealistic style found in traditional photorealist paintings of the late 20th century. Photorealist painters tended to systemically imitate photographic images, often consciously omitting details. The photorealistic style is uniquely tight, precise, and mechanical with an emphasis on mundane everyday imagery. The more recent hyperrealist style tends to be more literal as to detail and emphasis. This is in stark contrast to Photorealism with its avoidance of photographic anomalies including digital fractalization, image degradation, and subtractive versus additive color creation, i.e. CMYK versus RGB color wheels. As such, it incorporates and often capitalizes upon photographic limitations such as depth of field, focal perspective and range of focus to create a new hyperreality. Painters in both schools of art make allowances for some mechanical means of transferring images to the canvas, including preliminary drawings or grisaille underpaintings. Photographic slide projections onto canvases and rudimentary techniques such as gridding may also be used to ensure accuracy. Both styles require a high level of technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate reality; however, despite any apparent similarities, the two styles are distinctly apart from one another.

As a relatively young art movement, hyperrealism transcends mere double-take illusionism to incorporate iconographic imagery of phenomenological spatial representations and lighting. Extreme detail and ethereal lighting effects are often added to create an appearance of reality, in contrast to mere photographic simulation. Hyperreal paintings are a literal imitation of living reality as distinguished from a simulation of the particular photograph or photographs used as source materials. Photographs as a visual frame of reference are universally considered by hyperrealists to be an artificial representation simulacrum of an image captured in time. Hyperrealism considers photography as a process tool of art from which to further the painted illusion of hyperreality as a hyperreal representation of a representation of reality; one that exceeds its reference source in optically convincing surface details, spatial depth and lighting effects. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperrealism_%28painting%29 [Aug 2006]

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