Going for a Dip: Carole A. Feuerman

It was Aristotle who first developed, while theorizing about reality, that all was composed out of matter and form, being the first the possibility and the second, the reality. For many years this principle has been the foundation of the realistic defensors in the history of western philosophy.

Many years later, when in the late 1830s photography appeared, it was believed that the new medium could reproduce reality in such an accurate way that it raised excitement among modern societies and brought fresh air to the art scene. But things did not stop there, and in the twentieth century, during the seventies, in America, a group of artists began experimenting with even more fidending ways to reproduce reality with art, developing hyperrealism first in painting and later in sculpture.


Together with Duane Hanson and Johnn de Andrea, American sculptor Carole Feuerman is a towering figure in this hyperrealistic movement. Feuerman s work has been included in “An American Odyssey 1945-1980”, showcasing the most prominent artists of the American Post WWII era. Her iconic swimmers, are life-size figures made out of bronze with stainless Steel or lacquer on epoxy “Catalina” was her first one and its included in the “History of Western Art”. In Feuermans words: “My early hyper-realistic sculptures invite the audience to contemplate the intriguing dichotomy of reality in life and art”. Is it the reason why people stare at the pieces with such a strong curiosity and for such a long time? Is it so real you have to find out why is it art? Will the swimmers suddenly dive and splash in the waters? Will they try to dry the drops draining over her bodies?


The first of her swimmers I ever saw was in 2007 in the Venice Biennale. It is perhaps one of her best-known pieces “The Survival of Serena” (named liked that after the Italian city nickname “La Serenissima”), a painful beautiful swimmer, resting with closed eyes over her black lifeguard. She looked so calm and in peace and certainly life- like in such an astonishing way. To the tiniest details, Carole expressed the real and so do all her sculptures. Capturing sensuality, her pieces delve into the intricacies of feminism and beauty and raise the ultimate question once and again: what is real?