Marc Sijan: Embrace, 2014. Polyester resin, oil paint, 79 x 94 x 79 cm. Artist's collection. (L) Sam Jinks: Woman and Child, 2010. Mixed media, 145 x 40 x 40 cm. Edition 3, artist's collection. (R)


This summer, the Tampere Art Museum is hosting an extraordinary exhibition titled "HYPER," which offers a comprehensive overview of the history and evolution of hyperrealistic sculpture from the 1970s to the present day. The exhibition features works by 27 renowned artists from around the world, highlighting the international scope and continuous development of this art form.

Hyperrealistic sculptures meticulously replicate the human body, capturing every detail to create a startlingly lifelike illusion.

These artworks explore various facets of human existence, from existential questions and life stages to identity, emotions, societal issues, and the universal nature of human experience. They serve as mirrors of our lives, illustrating how our self-image has evolved from the 1970s to the 2020s.

Hyperrealistic sculpture began in the 1960s as a reaction against the abstract art movement. Pioneers like George Segal, Duane Hanson, and John DeAndrea returned to highly realistic depictions of the human figure, a style that had been deemed outdated. These artists used traditional techniques such as modeling, casting, and painting to create sculptures that appeared flesh-and-blood real. Their groundbreaking work has profoundly influenced the art of sculpture over the past sixty years, inspiring subsequent generations of sculptors to adopt and further develop their approach.

Divided into five thematic sections, the "HYPER" exhibition showcases the limitless possibilities of hyperrealistic sculpture. The sections focus on human clones, scale manipulation, transformations, body parts, and monochromatic approaches. Each segment is based on a concept related to the form of the works.

The human clones section features pioneering pieces by Duane Hanson and John DeAndrea, alongside contemporary artists like the duo Glaser and Kuntz, who create cinematic, sound-and-projection-enhanced talking sculptures.

Artists such as Ron Mueck, Zharko Basheski, and Sam Jinks explore scale variations, creating figures that either dwarf or miniaturize the viewer, delving into the human experience from different perspectives. Inspired by new scientific and digital communication perspectives, artists like Evan Penny, Berlinde de Bruyckere, and Patricia Piccinini investigate transformations and distorted views of the human body.

The depiction of body parts in hyperrealism can be traced back to American sculptor Carole A. Feuerman, known for her iconic swimmer sculptures. Since the 1990s, many hyperrealists have focused on individual body parts rather than whole bodies, often with humorous or shocking results, such as Maurizio Cattelan's "Ave Maria," which features disembodied arms evoking historical associations. Monochromatic works by artists like George Segal, Brian Booth Craig, and Robert Graham emphasize the aesthetic of the human form through a single-color palette.

"HYPER" offers a concise yet ambitious look at the development of hyperrealism, demonstrating how the representation of the human figure has transformed over the decades. The exhibition is a collaborative effort with the German Institut für Kulturaustausch, featuring loans from artists, galleries, art foundations, and private collections worldwide.

The "HYPER" exhibition promises to be a highlight of the summer art season, offering visitors a unique opportunity to explore the breathtakingly realistic world of hyperrealistic sculpture.