Explore the human body and experience through hyperrealistic art


Three Australian artists reveal the obsession and deep fascination with the hyperreal by using the human body as a lens to understand our relationships with each other, time and our environments.

Sam Jinks, Still Life (seated pieta), 2007, silicone, fabric and human hair, 120 x 106 x 60cm. Photo courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf.TIFF

Melbourne-based artist Sam Jinks is interested in the natural texture of living things. His works of art extend the multidimensionality of this to lifelike, tall sculptures with blatant honesty; the skin sags, the flesh overlaps, the hair falls gently on the face. “I started drawing when I was 11 and it was about learning the language of shapes and the human body,” Jinks shares. “There is an elegance in the way a body moves and rests, and I always wanted to be able to capture it. “

For the artist, the human body reveals a story, and after starting to observe the body in so much detail so early on, it is a story rooted both in his state of mind and in his work. “The human body is the cart that transports us; it’s a complex structure: a bony interior with softer layers wrapped around it, which makes it difficult but satisfying to sculpt, ”he argues.

While this fascination could also be a commentary on society and the way we interact with each other – Jinks’ sculptures often seem to hold or comfort each other – instead, the artist works in an introspective, reflective way. to the vast experiences that humans have had over the centuries. As hyperreal works of art, the audience remembers Freud’s theory of the strange or unheimlich, something that sounds so familiar and yet is not what it seems. Jinks’ artwork invites the eerie or the bizarre, rendering the human aesthetic inhuman.

Sam Jinks, Iris – the Messenger, 2018, 24 karat gold (wings), silicone, pigment, hair, water, silhouette and wings 1.85 x 2.3 x 1 m. Photo Courtesy of the Artist and Sullivan + Strumpf

“[The work] becomes “from another world” by taking it out of reality and isolating it “, he reflects. But it is the process that centers the pieces in their concepts; the artist continues, “the natural process of sculpture is an unconscious interpretation of reality, for what I produce in clay is influenced by me and my experience of the world.”

In his sculptures, Jinks uses silicone, resin, calcium carbonate, fiberglass and hair after being modeled with clay; they capture figurative resemblance and are trigger points for people to react. “Usually people will be momentarily surprised when they walk into a room containing a mannequin, so these materials just happen to be the tools I use to subconsciously engage the viewer,” he adds.

“I sculpt in clay on a wire frame, then I make a mold of the finished piece, then I paint the tinted silicone in the mold to create a certain translucency,” reveals the sculptor. “After the part comes out of the mold, I paint surface details like freckles and veins, drive in individual hairs to create full hair or body hair. Instead of just using silicone, I’m starting to use more plaster made with gypsum and other things like water.

Sam Jinks, Woman and Child, 2010, silicone, silk and human hair, 145 x 40 x 40 cm (ALT 2). Photo Courtesy of the Artist and Sullivan + Strumpf

As the works reveal the relationships between old and young, Jinks comments on life and death and how to observe these rituals of humanity. “What happens at the beginning and at the end of life is a critical part of the human experience, and I have always been fascinated with both the introduction and the exit of consciousness,” he explains. he. “There is a movement of life inward and outward, a constantly repeating tide.”

Likewise, Brisbane-based artist Michael Zavros comments on these life journeys through his hyperreal paintings. His children often appear in his works, but they become a way of reflecting on aging and its experiences. Works of art become a vehicle of expression, offering surreal juxtapositions in deeply luxurious images that seem to ooze pleasure – a commentary on consumerism and self-obsession that has been constant throughout human history. . And yet, as the public is invited to scrutinize the works, we begin to question what we see.

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