Reality and truthfulness. Abstraction, (hyper)realism and the “post-pictorial condition”

Krešimir Purgar


In the Aristotelian tradition image is seen as likeness and imitation of the natural world that exists outside the image. Classical art therefore strived to become as natural as possible, in order to imitate worldly creatures through semblances with reality. Venus de Milo, Raphael's Sistine Madonna or Ingre's Grande Odalisque may rightfully claim to have achieved the absolute likeness of what was in their times considered to be natural and real. But, while the fate of the concept of mimesis over centuries has been followed by the fate of mimetic sculpture and painting, the fate of the concept of image has taken completely different path. The ontological shift in our relation to images is in equal measure caused by both developments in art and developments in technologies of vision, that is, technologies of remediation. To understand the status of the notion of image in our digital age it is necessary to come to terms with the disconnected ontologies of mimesis and artistic practice. I will argue that high modernist non-mimetic, abstract and conceptual, art require ontological reconsideration in relation to its non- or post-representational pictorial status. This reconsideration is due to the on-going revolution in digital image production where mimetic reproduction and truthfulness make of images transparent and potentially invisible entities whose representational character is now lost. My thesis will be that radical distinction between images and reality, or between remediated images and digital immediacy, can only be maintained if we keep discernible the distinction between pictorial visuality on the one hand and virtual visuality on the other ‒ the phenomenon I would like to call the post-pictorial condition.

Parole chiave

post-pictorial condition; hyperrealism; abstract art; truthfulness; transparence; opacity

Full Text

PDF (English)

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2531-9876/6933


  • Non ci sono refbacks, per ora.

Copyright (c) 2016 Krešimir Purgar

Creative Commons License
Quest'opera è rilasciata con una licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione-Non commerciale-Condividi allo stesso modo 3.0 Unported.