13 – 28 DECEMBER 2018
Opera Gallery is proud to present Beyond Reality (13th – 28th December), a collective show of world-leading hyperrealist artists, including internationally acclaimed Marc Sijan, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, John Humphreys, Yigal Ozeri, and Mike Dargas. From life-like sculptures to paintings that look like real photos, Beyond Reality features artworks that challenge the viewers, making them question whether what they are looking at is art or real life.
A creature designer for Dr Who and sculptor for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alexander, London-based John Humphreys is an expert in special effects and makes sculptures that are disturbingly close to life. He also created the Alien for Alien Autopsy, the black and white film that launched worldwide controversy around the “UFO incident” near Roswell (New Mexico) and inspired the TV series ‘The X-Files’.
Italian artist Valter Adam Casotto has been a prosthetic makeup artist for over 20 episodes of Games of Thrones, as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the Gringott goblins), The Hobbit (Bombur, Kili and several Orcs), Tale of Tales, and X-Men: First Class. He produces unflattering portraits and life-like creations that look so real they seem almost on the verge of movement.
Mark Sijan’s hyper-realistic sculptures of real people that are exceptionally natural. They are the result of dexterous and painstaking work, and focus on the overlooked, invisible figures in society (cleaners, butlers, security guards), as a tribute to real people.
World-renowned painters Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, Mike Dargas, Michael Moebius and Yigal Ozeri blend portraiture and hyperrealism, using their remarkable pictorial expertise to invite us to take a closer look. Meticulous trompe-l’oeil paintings of Nicolae Maniu and Lee Jung Woong, while rooted in hyperrealist practice, add a touch of Surrealism and humour, with hints to the artistic production of Salvador Dalí and Jackson Pollock.
Federica Beretta, Director at Opera Gallery London, said: “We wanted to have a playful exhibition, with works that anyone can access and engage with. Beyond Reality will exhibit art by emerging artists as well as world-leading and acclaimed masters in the field. These days there seems to be a great appetite for skilful artists, who question the way we perceive art thanks to their unparalleled craft”.
About the artists
Valter Adam Casotto was born in Padua (Italy) and lives and works in London. He has worked as Senior Prosthetic Makeup Artist on over 20 episodes of Games of Thrones, Harry Potter, Tale of Tales, X-Men: First Class, and The Hobbit. Running parallel to his work in the film industry, and inspired by a combination of Turner’s painting, H.R Giger’s surrealist work and Bernini’s Baroque sculpture, he also works across painting, video projects and sculpture. Through his hyper-realistic and abstract work, he openly invites viewers to reflect upon the importance of their own identity in time, exploring the notion of memory and the possibility of surpassing the boundaries conventionally bestowed on it.
Mike Dargas is currently living and working between his native Cologne and Los Angeles. He started making oil paintings from a young age, and aged 11 he exhibited his talent publicly by drawing Old Master paintings on the pavement in front of the Cologne Cathedral. Inspired by artists such as Dalí, Caravaggio and Gottfried Helnwein, he developed a passion for realism, which he narrowed down to hyperrealism over the years. The extremely precise oil painting technique gives, like photography, a snapshot of the moment, serving the artist’s goal to tend towards the perfect image. Through his works, Dargas challenges us to take a closer look, to understand the nature of human beings and to question our own emotional perception.
John Humphreys was born in Salford and studied at Rochdale Art College, Gloucestershire College of Art and Design, and The Royal Academy of Schools. Having worked in the film industry on project such as Dr Who, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alexander, he fuses fine art with his experience in special effects to create sculpture that confuses the viewer. His concern with distorted dimensions presents a fresh way of exploring portrait sculpture, making the viewer work hard to correct the information they are presented with. His sculpture is both surreal and super-real, challenging conventional perceptions of space and hinting at a fourth dimension. His interest for the supernatural led him to create the alien for ‘Alien Autopsy’, the black and white film that launched worldwide controversy around a UFO crash near Roswell, New Mexico.
Lee Jung Woong
Born in Wooleung-Gun (Korea), Lee Jung Woong began to study art at the age of 40, at the University of Keimyung. Specialising in hyperrealism, he revisited the American Post-War Action Painting movement, initiated by Joan Mitchell and Jackson Pollock. His work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Korea, Singapore or Europe. His approach is marked by his Oriental sensibility, evoking the art of calligraphy though the use of Korean rice paper and large traditional Chinese brushes. He is particularly interested in the imperfections created by the spontaneity of his gestures: the ink spots, the splashes, the angle of the brush.
Born in Turda (Romania) Nicolae Maniu lived in Köln (Germany) before settling in Paris. Since 1986, he has regularly participated as a representative of Romania in the traditional Parisian Salons, and his work has been exhibited at International Art Fairs in Basel, Geneva, Rome, Barcelona, Brussels, Hamburg, New York, Miami. His work blends realism, surrealism, and hyperrealism, and is influenced by Delacroix, Pontormo, the Dutch masters and Salvador Dalí. His paintings depict a world of hidden metaphors, permanently unveiling itself, giving the viewer the chance to decipher its mysteries. Inspired by the Greek mythology and attempting to find relationships between classical painting and modern artistic expression, Maniu is one of the most important artists of the European contemporary painting.
Dresden-born artist Michael Moebius started studying painting at the Academy of Arts in Dresden, before moving to the United States, where he lives. He is most famous for his hyperrealistic portraits of celebrities in monochrome or sepia, with large blowing bubble-gum bubbles over their mouths for a playfully subversive touch. During his creative process, Moebius firstly sketches and then steadily paints his works to completion. His collector base, close partners and publishers include Playboy, Procter & Gamble, Laura Biagiotti, Vogue, Vanity Fair and other well-known companies.
New York City based Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri is best known for his large-scale photo-realistic portraits of distinctive young women in serene, dream-like landscapes, painted with thousands of tiny brushstrokes. With tinges of Pre-Raphaelite aesthetics, his portraits denote art historical foundations in romanticism, while also offering contemporary notions of sensual femininity. Ozeri has shown extensively around the world, with solo exhibits in Spain, China, The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Mexico. In 2017, he was one of the 30 contemporary artists featured in “Hyperrealism – 50 Years of Painting”, which opened at Kunsthal Rotterdam and has been touring across Europe since. He is also in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum in New York, The New York Public Library, The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Albertina in Vienna.
Mark Sijan was born in Serbia, but is based in Milwaukee, USA. He received his BA in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1968 and earned his Master of Science in Art in 1971, undertaking an intense study of anatomy and biology. He was Number One in the top 20 Hyper Realistic sculptors today according to ArtistADay (AAD) and remains one of the most innovative and technically sophisticated contemporary American artists. Taking from six months to a year to complete just one sculpture, his creations are so life-like as to almost be on the verge of movement. Most of his works depict people overlooked by society, such as butlers, cleaners, and security guards. Sijan does not shy away from showing their imperfections, but executes them with painstaking precision.
Tigran Tsitoghdzyan is a New York-based artist and painter born in Yerevan, Armenia. By the age of ten Tigran’s work was chosen to be displayed in a solo exhibition by Henrik Iguityan, founder and director of both the Modern Art Museum and Children’s Art Museum, based in Yerevan. Since then, he studied in Armenia and Europe, before arriving in New York in 2009. Tigran’s work mixes portraiture and surrealism in a profound way, investigating how people interact in an era of technology and social media. His images of mirrors suggest a close examination of self, and yet the hands held to the face shield the subject from outright observation. His hyperrealistic canvases may look like photographs edited with photoshop, but are actually huge oil paintings.
About Opera Gallery
Founded by Gilles Dyan in 1994, Opera Gallery is one of the leading international dealers and representatives of Modern and Contemporary Art. Opera Gallery is established worldwide with galleries in locations including New York, Miami, Aspen, Paris, Monaco, Geneva, Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beirut and Dubai. Opera Gallery offers museums, foundations and private international art collectors unique access to a diversity of Modern and Contemporary artists through an exciting programme of curated exhibitions and high-profile art fairs. Notable exhibitions include Pablo Picasso in Monaco, Marc Chagall in London, Jean Michel Basquiat & Andy Warhol in Geneva, Jean Dubuffet & Alexander Calder in Geneva and two major Manolo Valdés exhibitions in Paris and Singapore. http://www.operagallery.com/london/
Mike Dargas at work