The book accompanies the exhibition “ Cold Look. Variations of Hyperrealism in Estonian Art” at the Kumu Art Museum (13.05.–09.10.2016). The purpose of the exhibition and the book is not to serve as a comment on international photorealist art, but rather to study Estonian hyperrealist art as a separate phenomenon rooted in local circumstances and spatial experiences. In the middle of the 1970s, youth exhibitions in Estonia began to display works that were painted in a very realistic manner, but there seemed to be something different about them. The trend soon came to be called, appropriately, hyperrealism. It spread fast in youth art, and in a short time acquired the significance of a school of art. The imitation of photographic two-dimensional depiction and the novel choice of motifs brought a completely different experience of viewing art into realism-loving Estonia. At first glance, this art seems particular and representational but, on closer inspection, it is clear that it abandons reality and uses mediated and processed information instead, becoming surprisingly mundane and somewhat bleak, as well as distanced from the romantic artist’s position.
Written by Anu Allas
Designed by Külli Kaats
In Estonian and English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kumu Art Museum
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