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Hyperrealistic Art

On the edge of reality

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Hyperrealism is a movement in modern visual arts, which gained its popularity in the last decade of the 20th century. It involves painting, sculpture, and film making. The term Hyperrealism is often used as a synonym of Photorealism, though you can identify the difference with the naked eye.
The Hyperrealist artists do not focus on copying the real life regardless their accurate depiction of details and appearances of the subjects. At the same time, their artworks very often resemble photos posted on Instagram: faces of strangers, outings with friends, small streets, self-portraits, photos of their own hands and sneakers edited with digital technologies. Looking at the artworks one can hardly realize whether he/she is looking at a photo or a painting. At the same time, their pieces of art are rather simulations of the reality which would have existed.
A classical example is the portrait of a girl Betty by Gerhard Richter. The artwork resembles a portrait taken with a camera. However something intangible in the eyes of the model, in her pose and the turn of her head creates the atmosphere of mystery and mysticism. This visual effect can be reached only with paints.
Hyperrealism avoids complex subject matters though it emphasizes details, for instance, a flower decorating hair, or a patch of sunlight on the wall. We cannot but mention a series of the artworks by Masha Shubina; she took pictures of herself with a Polaroid camera and then copied them on the canvases of larger formats. She often depicted only a part of her face laying emphasis on the eyes, lips or accessory of the clothing.

Artworks by Norwegian painter Truls Espedal

Difference is obvious with the naked eye

The difference of this art style from Realism is easier to understand through the examples. The painting Luncheon in the Studio by Manet just depicts the reality and the artwork by Truls Espedal reveals the emotional response and perception of the reality by the artist.

The other peculiarity of Hyperrealism is the date of the artwork. Popularity of Realism was not always stable; the movement reached the peak of its popularity in late 19th century. Hyperrealism was the latest wave in modern art.

The term Hyperrealism first appeared in 1973; it was coined after the title of the exhibition in Brussels, which demonstrated the artworks of famous photo-realist artists and included emerging painters who would become prominent figures in Hyperrealism. They were Gerhard Richter, Klapheck, Delcol and others.
A lot of Hyperealist artists borrow methods from other art styles. For instance, Chuck Close skillfully applies the pointillist technique to his paintings; Gottfried Helnwein provocatively uses pop-art images or blends the modern subject matters with the classical biblical subjects to shock and kick up a row of viewers and critics.
To understand deeply the basics of the style you have to watch the ideal illustration of Hyperrealism in film making. It is the movie by Aleksei German "It is Hard to be a God."

You are an expert if...

You are an expert if you are able to distinguish Photorealism and Hyperrealism. The artworks by Photorealists resemble technically advanced high-resolution photos. Hyperrrealist artworks are more mysterious. The dominant subject in Photorealism is a landscape or a portrait, while Hyperrealism is focused mostly on details. So, when a photorealist depicts a park in the whole, a hyperrealist would hide a bench in the shadow emphasizing a sunbeam. If a photorealist paints a portrait in general, a hyperrealist would highlight a particular feature of a face.

Well known hyperrealist artists

Gerhard Richter, Gottfried Helnwein, Chuck Close, Domenico Gnoli, Masha Shubina (some of her artworks).

Iconic artworks

Gerhard Richter, "Betty"
Gottfried Helnwein, "Madonna at the Meeting"
Truls Espedal’s series of artworks with birds

Hyper prices
USD37.1 million was the price for the Domplatz, Mailand (Cathedral Square, Milan) by Gerhard Richter, 1968, which was commissioned by the Siemens Elettra Corporation.

What a story!

Gerhard Richter executed two popular portraits of his daughter Betty — in 1977 and in 1988. The first one was distinct and sharp, the other one was produced in a softer manner and the model depicted in it turned away from the camera as if escaping the viewer. These artworks remain the simplest and the most mysterious in the history of the genre.
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