Miriam Cosic is a Sydney-based journalist and author.
Realism has a long lineage in Western art. The ancient Greeks depicted bodily perfection in sculpture in accordance with their ideals of mimesis: accurate representation represented truth as well as beauty, i.e. the moral good. Viewers marvelled at the realness of 17th-century Dutch painting, particularly the still lifes, created in a booming materialist market. Art history eventually led us, via thesis and antithesis, to abstraction, the negation of mimesis.
By the 1970s, artists were experimenting with mimesis again. Technology and postmodernist thinking together have now taken realism well beyond what earlier eras could have dreamed of, hence the “hyper”. Hyperreality, in sculpture and in video, goes beyond astonishing verisimilitude into a beautiful, ugly, fantastical, frightening future of what-ifs, in terms of both sociopolitical development and biological...
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