Published By: Sougata Dutta

Hyper Realism And Magic Realism: Conflicts and Combines

Magic realism was mostly practised in Latin America and Europe. Read on to know more about its history and emergence.

After the high rise of realism in art throughout the world as an effect of renaissance during the early 19th century, magic realism emerged. That was the time when reality was becoming more crude and vulnerable. There was the first world war, then the deep crisis, death rolls and huge socio-cultural deterioration, and the attack of imperialists, cold war,  the WW2: the whole scenario became a mess and very pessimistic that created a need for positive push towards life. And some artists and writers found that realism is not being able to give that push that much, there was needed some magical spark to influence people to bring change in reality.

But, an art or literature having any of magical or spiritual objects is not magic realism. According to Marquez, 'fiction that integrates elements of fantasy into otherwise realistic settings' can be called magic realism.

Elements of magic realism

There are the 4 prevalent elements of magic realism:

Mixing up fantasy and mundane

Combination of reality and unreality

Compilation of real life and dream life

Mixing up ordinary with extraordinary

Important names

Magic realism was mostly practised in Latin America and Europe. The German critic Franz Roe first coined the term 'Magic Realism' in 1925. Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" is considered to be the first ever creation on magic realism. Though there is debate on this. Tony Morrison's Beloved is another remarkable piece of magic realism. But Gabriel Garcia Marquez was someone who made 'Magic Realism' a genre of worth. Most of his works were on magic realism. He got the Nobel Prize in 1982.

What is Hyperrealism?

In the case of painting and sculpture, some artists found some drawbacks of realism as they couldn’t express emotions, expressions clearly with a realistic approach. So they tried to exaggerate reality with more expressive form. They called it hyper realism where the reality is shown with extension of presentation. These high fidelity artworks changed the dimensional definition of art.

The term was coined by French art dealer Isy Brachot in 1973.


Hyperrealism began in the USA and shortly it spread to Europe. It was started as an independent art movement by Carole Feuerman, Duane Hanson and John De Andrea in America. Then we found Gottfried Helnwein, Pierre Barraya, Tjalf Sparnaay, Roger Wittevrongel, Gérard Schlosser, Willem van Veldhuizen, Jacques Bodin, Gilles Aillaud, Ronald Bowen, Bernard Rancillac,François Bricq, Jacques Monory, and Gérard Fromanger.

Conflicts between these two forms

These two forms have conflicts in case of expression, medium, form and psychological impact. Hyperrealism creates an exaggerated visual of real images, objects, expressions, contexts. And magic realism creates magical images. Hyperrealism is mostly practised in paintings, sculptures and photography. Magic realism is mostly practised in literature.

Combination we may find

But these two forms have combined and in practice together in films, more precisely in animated films. 3D has added extra scope of expansion for these two forms together.