In a blog post published last week, The Creators Project composed a stunning list of eight artists who sculpt hyperrealistic depictions of the body: Marc Sijan, Xooang Choi, Sarah Sitkin, Jackie K. Seo, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Jamie Salmon, Felix Deac, and Trent Taft. From states of beauty, intimacy, deformity, and death, the artists approach flesh as a figurative storyboard for human experience; whether it’s the stale sadness of Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Old People’s Home,” or the life-like, slow-burning intensity of Salmon’s “Chris,” each work accentuates the details and imperfections of the skin to convey a much deeper message.
To some, the purpose of hyperrealistic art may seem uncertain; why reproduce reality in such painstaking detail, when we are confronted by each other’s flesh every day? Of course, some of the sculptures have disturbing and surreal aspects, which makes their illusory qualities more clear. Like rats’ tails and hairless cats, these sculptures may make many of us strangely uncomfortable, for they unconsciously remind us of our own mortal fleshiness. Beyond this initial repulsion, however, they also mimic and accentuate reality to confront the viewer with meanings they may never see otherwise: human vulnerability, and the skin as a shallow edifice that distracts us from another’s internal experience. In each of these “simulations” of real life, an intuitive (and often unsettling) truth is revealed.