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The Hyper-Real in Photography. A Group Show at The Arts Club

  • Roe Ethridge - Winchester, 2017
  • Hank Willis Thomas - Haters gonna hate, 2015
  • Collier Schorr - Die Blaumann Akademie II, 2009
May 15, 2018
Balasz Takac is alias of Vladimir Bjelicic who is actively engaged in art criticism, curatorial and artistic practice.

Contemporary photography is largely affected by the constant technological improvements, so naturally, the perception of the very medium has changed. The editing of the photograph has become easily accessible, so each user can crop, filter or enhance the desired effect of the captured sight.

With that being said, how do we relate to the fact that photography has become the matter of personal taste, while the capability to make a distinction between what is an amateur or professional photography has become blurred?

The upcoming exhibition Hyper-real at The Arts Club tends to reevaluate the term used for the title in accordance with the mentioned issues. The works of five photographers should bring to attention wide array of meanings by introducing specific approaches and perspectives.

Torbjørn Rødland - The Cut, 2016
Torbjørn Rødland – The Cut, 2016. Framed chromogenic print on Kodak Endura paper, 82 x 107 x 3,8 cm, without frame 80 x 105 cm © Torbjørn Rødland, Private collection Rosana & Jacques Seguin, courtesy Air de Paris, Paris

The Photography in the Digital Era

When a term hyperreal is used in regards to the visual arts, it immediately recalls the genre of hyperrealism, which has been present since the 1970s and refers to the paintings and sculptures resembling a hi-res photograph.

But what happens if we apply this genre to the contemporary photography? Certainly, it implies some sort of critical articulation which seems to be the agenda behind this exhibition of the suggestive title.

If we bear in mind that hyperreality has become omnipresent as the effect of a digital era in which any segment of human experience has become shaped, we might state that the works from this installment cynically examine our contemporary lives and the paradigm of reality.

Left Roe Ethridge - Teresa Oman (Sunset Backdrop), 2015 Right Hank Willis Thomas - Branded Head, 2003
Left: Roe Ethridge – Teresa Oman (Sunset Backdrop), 2015. Dye sublimation print on aluminum, 53 x 40 in (134.6 x 101.6 cm), framed: 54 1/2 x 41 1/2 x 1 1/2 in (138.4 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm), Image courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York / Right: Hank Willis Thomas – Branded Head, 2003. Lambda photograph, 30 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches (framed) © Hank Willis Thomas, Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

About The Works

Hank Willis Thomas, Roe Ethridge, Torbjørn Rødland, Hassan Hajjaj and Collier Schorr have been selected by curators Amelie von Wedel and Pernilla Holmes from Wedel Art, an art advisory firm specializing in Modern and Contemporary Art. In brief, all of their works deal with various consequences of the digitalized reality we live in.

The photographs of Roe Ethridge meticulously capture the generated plasticity of edited images of advertising campaigns. A similar approach is present in the works of Hank Willis Thomas who uses the language of advertising to deconstruct class, race, and history. On the other hand, the artist Collier Schorr investigates the themes of identity and gender by employing the elements of both fiction and reality, while Hassan Hajjaj does a similar thing by articulating the means of cultural representation and hybridity. A bit differently, yet on the same trail as other artists, Torbjørn Rødland captures familiar sights in an unprecedented manner, so the perversity prevails.

Hassan Hajjaj - Alya, ed. 1/3, 2014/1435
Hassan Hajjaj – Alya, ed. 1/3, 2014/1435. Photography by © Hassan Hajjaj. Print size 214.5 x 113.2 cm, frame size 242 x 142.7 x D: 11.5 cm. Metallic lambda on 3mm dibond, frame sprayed white with big “Soraya” tomato cans (top and bottom incl. corners) and big “Aicha” tomato cans on both sides. Courtesy the artist and Vigo Gallery, London, UK

The Hyperreal at The Arts Club

It is apparent that all of these artists question the reality in regards to the digital era, and each of them accesses the theme with the specific and critically charged approach. Behind the shift in perception caused by the technological advancements remains the unease and a certain dose of fear from the conjunction of reality and virtuality, so this exhibition should be perceived as a useful tool for a further debate on the subject matter.

Hyperreality will take place at The Arts Club in London, the legendary hub for artists, writers and creative, located in London, from 21 May until 9 September 2018. The private view will happen on 23 May from 6 to 8 pm.

Featured images: Roe Ethridge – Winchester, 2017. Dye sublimation print on aluminum, 33 x 47 11/16 in (83.8 x 121.1 cm); framed: 34 1/2 x 49 1/8 x 1 5/8 in (87.6 x 124.8 x 4.1 cm). Image courtesy of the Artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York; Hank Willis Thomas – Haters gon’ hate, 1960/2015, 2015. Digital chromogenic print, 33 9/16 x 50 inches (paper size), 34 11/16 x 50 15/16 x 1 3/4 inches framed © Hank Willis Thomas, Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York; Collier Schorr – Die Blaumann Akademie II, 2009. Archival pigment print, 76 x 57 cm / 29.9 x 22.4 in © Collier Schorr, Courtesy 303 Gallery, New York & Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London. All images courtesy The Arts Club