In his famous "History of Portraiture in Wax" Julius von Schlosser incautiously predicted that the invention of the camera obscura would rapidly extinguish "the last flickering pulse" of ceroplastics and, more generally, of any form of hyperrealistic art. In the very same years, Edmund Husserl was insistently referring to wax figures as the typical example of what should not – in principle – be considered artistic. Although the banishment of hyperrealism from the realm of so-called "high art" is deeply rooted in the history of aesthetics, it has historically proved wrong. As a matter of fact, the last sixty years have witnessed an ever-growing production and diffusion of hyperrealistic sculptures taking advantage of the ability of particular materials (from traditional wax to the more technological silicone, fiberglass, and polyester resin) to allow artists to create images which so closely resemble their models that they can easily be mistaken for the models themselves. This essay aims 1) to offer a brief survey of the theoretical reasons why hyperrealistic works have been traditionally regarded as non-artistic, and 2) to focus on a single case study – Duane Hanson "Man on a Bench" – in order to prove why hyperrealism can indeed to be considered as a genuine form of art, whereas ordinary wax figures à la Madame Tussauds – although being materially indiscernible from their much more appreciated counterparts – cannot.

Waxworks unframed / P. Conte - In: Ceroplastics : The Art of Wax / [a cura di] R. Ballestriero, O. Burke, F.M. Galassi. - [s.l] : L’Erma di Bretschneider, 2019. - ISBN 9788891318411. - pp. 95-103

Waxworks unframed

P. Conte
2019

Abstract

In his famous "History of Portraiture in Wax" Julius von Schlosser incautiously predicted that the invention of the camera obscura would rapidly extinguish "the last flickering pulse" of ceroplastics and, more generally, of any form of hyperrealistic art. In the very same years, Edmund Husserl was insistently referring to wax figures as the typical example of what should not – in principle – be considered artistic. Although the banishment of hyperrealism from the realm of so-called "high art" is deeply rooted in the history of aesthetics, it has historically proved wrong. As a matter of fact, the last sixty years have witnessed an ever-growing production and diffusion of hyperrealistic sculptures taking advantage of the ability of particular materials (from traditional wax to the more technological silicone, fiberglass, and polyester resin) to allow artists to create images which so closely resemble their models that they can easily be mistaken for the models themselves. This essay aims 1) to offer a brief survey of the theoretical reasons why hyperrealistic works have been traditionally regarded as non-artistic, and 2) to focus on a single case study – Duane Hanson "Man on a Bench" – in order to prove why hyperrealism can indeed to be considered as a genuine form of art, whereas ordinary wax figures à la Madame Tussauds – although being materially indiscernible from their much more appreciated counterparts – cannot.
Hyperrealism; wax; phenomenology; Husserl; Gombrich; Duane Hanson
Settore M-FIL/04 - Estetica
Settore L-ART/03 - Storia dell'Arte Contemporanea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/931775
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