Photorealism. 50 Years of Hyperrealistic Painting 18/03/2016 – 12/06/2016

Kumu Art Museum
Adult: Kumu Art Museum
  • Family: Kumu Art Museum
  • Discount: Kumu Art Museum
  • Adult ticket with donation: Art Museum of Estonia
Don Eddy. Lammutustöökoda I (detail). 1971. © Don Eddy

Photorealism. 50 Years of Hyperrealistic Painting

Location: 2nd floor, Great Hall

By the end of the 1960s, the photorealists were seeking their own, independent form of artistic expression by producing realistic depictions of everyday objects and scenes. Photography, considered an objective way of documenting the world, served these artists in their aim of distancing themselves from the subjectivity of other art movements. They followed the path pioneered by the Pop artists, who were primarily concerned with objectively representing the worlds of everyday life and consumer culture, of mass media and advertising. The motifs ranged from close-ups of car bumpers, polished paintwork, colourful children’s toys, gleaming pinball machines and candies of every conceivable colour, to diner interiors and scenes of urban American life; from neon advertising signs and cityscapes to greatly enlarged portraits.

Photorealistic painting is a laborious process: Photographs are projected onto the canvas and traced in detail. With the aid of countless fine stencils or spray guns, vivid, enlarged painted reproductions of photos are created. These paintings of banal, everyday scenes and out-sized consumer goods broke with traditional formats. From the time they first appeared, these images, based on photographic sources, and transferred on canvas using a grid system or a slide projector, attracted a great deal of attention.

The initial effect of surprise that photorealistic pictures evoke is not their only characteristic. They are also the outcome of the artist’s visual reflections and stimulate the reflections of the beholder. This impact got stronger and stronger over three generations, along with the development of the technical possibilities in photography.

Curator: Otto Letze
Coordinator: Anu Allas
Exhibition designer: Tõnis Saadoja
Graphic designer: Külli Kaats

An exhibition by:
Institut für Kulturaustausch (Tübingen)