Hyperrealism art is a form of art where the creation resembles a photograph with very high resolution, hence the name. Some experts say Hyperrealism is a more advanced version of Photorealism.
The term was first used by Belgian art dealer IsyBrachot, who made an art exhibition at his gallery in Brussels titled L’hyperréalisme, in 1973. This exhibition consisted of many American and European artists that where known for Photorealism, like Ralph Goings and Richter.
Ever since then, Hyperrealism has been used to describe painters influenced by Photorealism. This previous movement originated in the United States in the 1960’s, and the goal was to recreate photographs. It represented an evolution to Pop Art, and was considered an advanced version of Realism, a movement that happened prior.
Because the US was the place where painters focused on Photorealism, it’s only logical that the next movement, Hyperrealism, would also be propelled by American artists. The aspect in which Hyperrealism stirs away from its predecessor, it’s the emotion and narrative that they intend to plasm into the painting, unlike Photorealism, which only targeted the precise recreation of a photo reference.
Another characteristic of Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures is the focus on the presentation of the subject as a living and moving object. It is said to derive from the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard: “the simulation of something which never really existed”. This means, that the target is to create a reality that wasn’t seen in the original photo the creation derives from, but not to the extend as to become an illusion, as what’s presented may very well be real.
When it comes to the style, Hyperrealism is very much focused on details. It takes the photo as a reference, and instead of simulating with the goal of making something as similar to the original photo as possible, it uses it as a guide. The artist has the liberty, and you could also say the obligation, to make it seem even more real, as if there’s something in the photo that couldn’t be seen by the human eye.
As a more modern genre of painting and sculpture, Hyperrealism is based off digital photographs, and more so because it took off during the early 2000’s, led by Paul Cadden. It’s modernity also allows for some technical liberties when it comes to the methods used. Preliminary drawings and grisaille molds or paintings. Even advanced techniques like slide projectors can be used to translate the image onto a canvas, to obtain that “hyper real” effect.
The themes that can be found on Hyperrealism projects range from portraits, to landscapes, or even narrative scenes. Social, cultural, and political themes are exposed through this medium, with Hyperrealism being used often to expose totalitarians regimes and third world governments. It seems like a recurring theme this genre is used to present are provocative and polemic topics.
For example, Denis Peterson and Gottfried Helnwein used Hyperrealism to present their take on genocides, refugees, and specially the Holocaust in the case of Helnwein’s work. Maybe the concept of creating something that isn’t real blended with something that is, could plant the idea in the public’s mind that there are things we are not seeing, but are right in front of our eyes.
Check out this amazing hyperrealism time lapse of of M&M’s: