Hyperrealism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 1970s. Carole Feuerman is the forerunner in the hyperrealism movement along with Duane Hanson and John De Andrea.
Belgian art dealer Isy Brachot coined the French word Hyperréalisme, meaning Hyperrealism, as the title of a major exhibition and catalogue at his gallery in Brussels in 1973. The exhibition was dominated by such American Photorealists as Ralph Goings, Chuck Close, Don Eddy, Robert Bechtle and Richard McLean; but it included such influential European artists as Domenico Gnoli, Gerhard Richter, Konrad Klapheck, and Roland Delcol [fr]. Since then, Hyperealisme has been used by European artists and dealers to apply to painters influenced by the Photorealists. Among contemporary European hyperrealist painters we find Gottfried Helnwein (Austrian), Willem van Veldhuizen and Tjalf Sparnaay (Dutch), Roger Wittevrongel (Belgian), as well as the French Pierre Barraya, Jacques Bodin, Ronald Bowen, François Bricq, Gérard Schlosser, Jacques Monory, Bernard Rancillac, Gilles Aillaud and Gérard Fromanger.
Early 21st century Hyperrealism was founded on the aesthetic principles of Photorealism. American painter Denis Peterson, whose pioneering works are universally viewed as an offshoot of Photorealism, first used "Hyperrealism" to apply to the new movement and its splinter group of artists. Graham Thompson wrote "One demonstration of the way photography became assimilated into the art world is the success of photorealist painting in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also called super-realism or hyper-realism and painters like Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack, and Chuck Close often worked from photographic stills to create paintings that appeared to be photographs."
However, Hyperrealism is contrasted with the literal approach found in traditional photorealist paintings of the late 20th century. Hyperrealist painters and sculptors use photographic images as a reference source from which to create a more definitive and detailed rendering, one that often, unlike Photorealism, is narrative and emotive in its depictions. Strict Photorealist painters tended to imitate photographic images, omitting or abstracting certain finite detail to maintain a consistent over-all pictorial design. They often omitted human emotion, political value, and narrative elements. Since it evolved from Pop Art, the photorealistic style of painting was uniquely tight, precise, and sharply mechanical with an emphasis on mundane, everyday imagery.
Hyperrealism, although photographic in essence, often entails a softer, much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living, tangible object. These objects and scenes in Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a reality not seen in the original photo. That is not to say they're surreal, as the illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself.
Hyperrealism has its roots in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, "the simulation of something which never really existed." As such, Hyperrealists create a false reality, a convincing illusion based on a simulation of reality, the digital photograph. Hyperreal paintings and sculptures are an outgrowth of extremely high-resolution images produced by digital cameras and displayed on computers. As Photorealism emulated analog photography, Hyperrealism uses digital imagery and expands on it to create a new sense of reality. Hyperrealistic paintings and sculptures confront the viewer with the illusion of manipulated high-resolution images, though more meticulous.