1 JUNE – 20 JUNE 2015


The Real vs the Unreal. Are we prepared to apply the advancements in virtual reality to visiting a gallery or buying a piece of art, or is this a step too far?

The Photorealist movement of the late 20th Century, lead by artists such as Richard Estes, Ralph Goings and Audrey Flack showed us that it was possible to achieve a degree of detail in painting that superceded anything that had gone before. Originating in 1960’s America, Photorealism followed in the footsteps of Pop Art and its legitimisation of the use of representational imagery and lead to artists using paint to capture what a camera could. Using the photograph as a true starting point, artists now had the capability to replicate a moment in time, a moment that could be taken back to the studio and analysed to near microscopic detail. Using a more technical approach than artists before them, and, given the time to develop these skills, unbelievable reproductions were starting to come out of the studio and the term Photorealism was born. Continually challenging themselves, the focus was often on the effect of light; glass and metal featured highly as Photorealism reached its pinnacle in the 70’s.

The early 21st Century saw the evolution of Photorealism towards a more emotive depiction of the subject. By adding the complexities of life and imagination to an art work, Hyperrealists moved beyond the philosophy of the Photorealist movement. As photography developed from analog to digital, so did the methods, and Hyperrealists began to create convincing illusions of a reality.

Computer generated images have also strived to reach the same accuracy in representation. Having achieved their goal of Photorealism for some time now, software developers and their users are looking to the next dimension in search of a greater challenge. Game developers have been using their imagination for decades to produce sets with increasingly sophisticated software and hardware. Technology is catching and cross pollination into the world of architecture and design is inevitable. As Hyperrealists have sought their answers out from within the world of the imagination, so have architectural illustrators.

Real time interaction within a virtual environment has generally been dismissed by architects and property developers as looking too much like a computer game. However, as advancements in technology progress, photoreal images can be rendered as fast as the eye can see and what was once a ‘game-like’ animation transcends into a Photorealistic rendering of the real world within the virtual stratosphere; an environment that can be experienced on screen, or through the immersive nature of a headset.

Visit our virtual exhibition created by AVR London. Don the headset and compare the real with the unreal as you sit amongst the exhibition itself. Allow yourself a moment to be captivated by the complexities of the latest Unreal Engine technology in a select group of visualisations and environments from its creators, Epic Games alongside those of AVR London. We look forward to welcoming you at Virtualrealism.