H Y {P E R R E A L} F I D E L I T Y I N T H E G A R D E N O F E D E N
by Sunshine Frere, MA Goldsmiths University of London 

1. Hyperreality is seen as a condition in which what is real and what is fiction are seamlessly blended together so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins.i
2. Hyperreality is a way of characterizing what our consciousness defines as "real" in a world where a multitude of media can radically shape and filter an original event or experience. ii
3. Hyperreality is used in semiotics and postmodern philosophy to describe an inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality, especially in technologically advanced post-modern societies.iii
Within society's hyper-mediated world, each individual contributes to the ever expanding superfluity of online content by creating their own collection of personal realities: Linked-in professional profiles, Facebook friending, twitter rants and musings, personal websites, about.me splash pages, instagram selfie shots... the list goes on and on and on. Each of these persona extensions are controlled and navigated by the end user as a means to reflect one's own reality, or more accurately, a simulated or curated version of one's own reality. Identities become further fractalized as they interconnect with other simulated online individuals and narratives.
When digital identity debris extends infinitely into the cyber-cumulous googlesque commons of the world-wide- web and everyone must remain connected at all times, where does one's own reality begin or end?
A question, perhaps, for the omniscient and immortal phoenix of hyperreality.
Eden is a multifariously historiographical narrative; its tendrils extend across the globe, into past centuries, throughout the present day and outwards to the future. It is a prevalent parable belonging to innumerable collective memory banks. Symbolically, Eden instantly conjures a plethora of imagery in the mind's eye: utopia, nature, a garden, a man, a women, an apple, a serpent, god, the tree of knowledge... Conceptually, Eden immediately evokes constructs of desire, curiosity, loss of innocence, good, evil, banishment and love. It is this complex narrative that Ann Goldberg has chosen as both title and topical muse for her newest body of work.
Goldberg draws from a range of sources to create fascinating hyperreal imagery. Her work is developed and visualised through the lens of personal experience, collective memory and collaborative, commission-based process. During her research and painting of Eden, the artist contemplated in depth all that Eden symbolises. She was particularly drawn to themes found within John Steinbech's novel East of Eden and Ann Sexton's poem RATS LIVE ON NO EVIL STAR. Trace elements from these written works can be found reconstituted in her Eden series, painted into Goldberg's tome of revelations.
Welcome to the garden of simulacrum, welcome to Hyperreal Eden.

According to French philosopher Jean Baudrillard, there are three orders of simulacra: naturalistic, productionist and simulationist, and each order corresponds to a particular historical era.iv In Eden, Ann Goldberg's hyperreal paintings and her experimental painted photographs represent a body of work that successfully time travels: an Eden that extends across Baudrillard's three orders simultaneously.
III – THE THREE ORDERS - NS (naturalistic simulacra)
But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed — because ‘Thou mayest.’
– Lee, a character from Steinbeck's, East of Eden novelv
The story of Eden is a quintessential example of naturalistic simulacra. Eden is a non-space. Meaning that it exists conceptually as a narrative, but not a reality.vi This non-space exists in tandem with the naturalistic simulacra within the parable: Eden is a bountiful and heavenly place, a utopia. A parallel double entendre can be drawn when comparing the origins of the word Utopia as a non-place and also a good place.vii There are several utopian works within Goldberg's Eden series that eschew the naturalistic simulacra order.
Cathedral Grove, the Tulips series, and Cone Flower are stunning renderings of beauty and nature, and as such they are overt naturalistic paintings. Each scene depicted within these pieces could be easily envisaged within the garden of Eden. The scale of the paintings combined with the artists' effective use of light, colour, shadow, and her impeccable attention to detail, lead the viewer on a journey into their own affective naturalistic memory banks.
YELLOW TULIPS & PINK TULIPS, 2012, oil on canvas, 36 X 24” & 24 x 36”
     FOREST CATHEDRAL GROVE, BC, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 x 72” CONE FLOWER, 2004, oil on canvas, 40 x 60”
There are two other works that can also be classified under this natural order. These appeal affectively to the viewer, similar to the works previously mentioned. However, thematically and metaphorically, they are even stronger forms of the naturalistic order.
The first piece, Salari Bouquet is a commission-based work. The wedding bouquet traditionally symbolises health, beauty, luck and fertility. The tossing of the bouquet is a gesture that transfers the luck of the bride to the woman who catches it. As the bouquet is given away during the wedding, in contemporary society, many brides symbolically capture their own bouquet via a photograph in order to preserve its memory. In the case of The Salari Bouquet the floral image has been simulated as a painting from a photograph of the original floral arrangement. It is already a twice removed simulation of the real. Goldberg's interpretation of the bouquet is a further intensified version of the original as it is a precise close up rendering. The viewer is immersed in the bouquet, the intricate details of the flowers span outwards towards all edges of the canvas. This version becomes an intensified and larger-than-life variant of the original. The artist's selective cropping makes for an incredibly successful hyperreal paintingviii.
      SALARI BOUQUET, 2012, oil on canvas, 30 x 30” HOWARD’S RIDE, 2012, oil on canvas, 36 x 60”

 The final work from the series identified under the naturalistic simulacra order is Howard's Ride, an painting that features of two cyclists in the rain riding uphill on a mountain side. When asked about this work, Goldberg stated that she felt that it was a work exploring humankind's ability to overcome and triumph over obstacle. When confronted with hundreds of decisions daily, critical or not, each individual must choose to move in one direction or another. Choice is a concept that flourishes in Steinbech's East of Eden.ix The author's oeuvre highlights the struggles with choices each character must make in the living of their respective and intersecting lives. One of the primary characters in the novel uncovers an interesting observation when he researches the biblical story of Cain and Able. In particular, he focuses on the phrase thou shalt within the book of Genesis, and he discovers that across different versions of the bible the interpretation of this phrase varies greatly based on who is translating, and how it is translated. One translation suggests that thou shalt means you can, another suggests that it means you will, whilst the third, a direct translation from hebrew (timshel - thou mayest) means you may. The struggle of the two cyclists as they battle with the incline of the mountain is evident in their focussed eyes and determined stances, the viewer senses that it is only a matter of time before they are at the top looking back at their progress. Triumph and failure, two naturalistic phenomena also grown in the garden of Eden. The enlightenment of mankind, or the fall of mankind, it depends on who interprets the meaning behind Eve and Adam's bite into the infamous apple.
...Only later did Adam and Eve go galloping, galloping into the apple.
They made the noise of the moon-chew and let the juice fall down like tears...
-Anne Sexton (from RATS LIVE ON NO EVIL STAR)
III – THE THREE ORDERS - PS (productionist simulacra)
Overproduction is no longer seen as a problem but a cultural ecosystem.
- Nicholas Bourriaudx
Hailing from times of modernity and industrial revolution, productionist simulacra is ubiquitous at its very core, an all consuming and veritable tour de force. Baudrillard identifies the concept of desire as a key utopia tied directly to productionist simulacrum. Desire is also exploited amongst the following series of Goldberg's Eden paintings.
CANDY APPLES (II), 2013, oil on canvas, 24 x 36” LOLLIPOPS, 2010, oil on canvas, 24 x 36”
 Candy Apples (II) and Lollipops are two works that literally explore the sweeter side of desire. It could be noted that given the core symbolism of this painting, Candy Apples is strongly aligned with the naturalistic order through the story of Eden. But the fact that the work is a sequel propels it further afield. The work was produced as a sequel due to the original's high desirability, proof of the work existing as a productionist order. It is back by coveted and popular demand, ready to entice its own set of viewers and admirers. Both Candy Apples (II) and Lollipops are Pavlovian in nature; the shiny reflective and glossy surfaces speak directly to one's magpie sensibilities, whilst these familiar sweets from our collective childhood memories pull on nostalgic heartstrings, not to mention one's sweet tooth. The sharp focus on the apples and the lollies maneuver these paintings into a hyperreal realm, one where the objects seem to vibrate or hover on top of the canvas with a most animated and delectable intensity.
Goldberg's paintings, Fast Food and Shoes are direct exploitations of contemporary desire; sex, lust, perfection, prestige, luxury, power, beauty, lifestyle, commodotization and perception are just some of the manifold themes housed within these works. Again the viewer is drawn into the imagery via the artist's felicitous use of reflection, sharp focus and object isolation. Shoes is a more subtle play on the aforementioned themes. This particular composition skillfully directs the viewer onto multiple abstract narrative tangents.
Fast Food, a much more confrontational work, stops the viewer in their tracks. The naked figure, awkwardly positioned on a giant sheet of foil resembles a piece of meat. Rather than grilling in the oven she is baking in the sun, working hard to procure a desirable skin tone. Goldberg has neglected to complete the painting past the edge of the foil on either side. Rather than painting what the foil was resting on she places it directly on top of the gessoed canvas. It seems as though, if one could catch the lip of the painted oil on either edge, the foil and its contents could be scrunched up and thrown away once the piece has been consumed, or past its sell-by date.
FAST FOOD, 2012, oil on canvas, 30 x 60” SHOES, 2012, oil on canvas, 36 x 48”
Fast Food candidly comments on the commoditization of the female form, and the myriad of issues surrounding identity, desire and objectification. It also references the canon of art history and the millions of nude paintings that preceded its existence. The work exudes a strong pop-art sensibility. Goldberg has created an aesthetic convergence of several artist counterparts within the work; there is something curiously and simultaneously Koonsian, Warholian, and even Rosenquistian about it.
     As a female painting a female nude, the dynamics of this relationship in reference to the male painter, 'the gaze'

 and its expansive history is an entirely overwhelming kettle of fish that would result in its own dedicated essay. It has been highlighted in brevity here to bring back into focus how this work fits within the realm of productionist simulacra, the work exists within its own context, but it is also as a cog in the canon of art history, and a cog within the all-consuming desiring machine.
In an era of image over stimulation, trending, and internet memes, Fast Food is an active ingredient of the productionist revolution. It also parlays into the third and final simulacra order, for with its loaded subject matter, and bountiful referencing, it becomes part of the robust proliferation parade of images.
III – THE THREE ORDERS - SS (simulationist simulacra)
The simulacrum is never what hides the truth –
it is the truth that hides the fact that there is none. The simulacrum is true.
Maximum operationality, hyperreality and total control: this is the third order of Baudrillard's simulacra. Think Facebook, think the World Wide Web, think Sci-Fi. Fast Food is also considered part of this third order as it an integrates into Baudrillard's conception of Ecstasy and Inertia,xii but it is not the only work in Goldberg's Eden that is simulation based. Kris & Mack, Knox Road, and Mt. Robson are also forms of the third order.
Also a wedding commission painting, Goldberg's Kris & Mack was rendered to serve as a memento of the union of two people in love. The original photograph from which Ann based the painting on was taken on the day of their marriage. The subjects of the work are pictured, not facing outwards, but facing nature, together, holding hands and walking away from the viewers gaze. They are walking towards their own garden, into their own Eden, and the sun is gloriously shining on their shoulders. Descriptively, there are obvious comparisons that tie this work to the story of Eden and to the first oder of simulacra. However, this work does something different, it also becomes an exploration of what Eden symbolises within the simulacra of contemporary society. As opposed to purely referencing biblical times, Kris and Mack engages in a conversation with third order simulacra.
The young couple, Kris and Mack, are not bride and groom, they are husband and husband. Times change. As time changes, so too do the individuals who live within each era. Eden, with all its symbolism and signals, exists as natural simulacra, now, as it did in earlier times. However, today, it also exists across society as a multitude of new third order simulacra. In the simulation order there is no singular vantage point, only multiple variations, for everything overlaps and interconnects. Gone are the days of a single version of Eden. This work naturalistically acts as a memento and tribute of the union of two people in love, but it also acts as a seized opportunity by the artist to celebrate and simulate another contemporary variation of Eden.
   KRIS & MAC, 2012, oil on canvas, 36 x 48”

 It is within the third order that multiple realities play out, they fold into each other, and expand out again. One can rest in naivety forever, trapped in the ideals of a naturalistic space, or one can take a step towards understanding the plural significance of the non-space and how it is revealed across multiple realities.
A simulation of a simulation of a simulation of a simulation, Mt. Robson is a painting painted from a photograph. The photograph acting as a reflection of what is in front of the camera, but then within the image, there is also a mirrored reflection of what is behind the camera. A further reflection can be seen within the reflected mirror, the windows and reflective door surface demonstrate additional viewpoints. The lines on the left hand side of the mirror allow for the closed window to provide yet another pane/plane through which to observe that which is unfolding, and has unfolded. That Goldberg chose to include the rearview mirror text suggesting that objects may be closer than they appear, only serves to enhance the simulated simulation metaphorically. The painting subject matter, the vast backdrop of the mountains and the vanishing point perspective of the road, playfully explore notions of macro/micro, nature/man, future/past and momentum/stillness. Mt. Robson is hyperreal; it is utopia lost, utopia found, utopia reflected on, utopia remembered, and utopia simulated.
KNOX ROAD, 2011, oil on canvas, 54 x 54” MT ROBSON IN SIDE VIEW MIRROR, 2012, oil on canvas, 24 x 36”
Knox Road acts is a painting of third order simulacra for several reasons. This work is both a commission piece and a family portrait. This painting is an amalgam of several photographs. The realities of the photo shoot of the children, that of the blossoming of the cherry trees, and that of the Abby Road-esque crossing, converged only when this conceptual vision was painted into reality: a singular image created through multiple simulations. Knox Road is a painting that beautifully encapsulates three types of Edens. The Eden of the natural order, nature and spring blossoms and sunlight. The Eden of the productionist order, that of the pop-culture reference. The nod to The Beatles' Album Abbey Road, the band's music acts as its own euphoric desiring machine, one that is perpetually relived with each Album cover reference, or each re-playing of the iconic discography. Music holds a strong sense of nostalgia for all societies throughout the world, the Beatles abounding worldwide exposure is culturally and historiographically significant, but more importantly, their music is also directly affective on an extremely personal level for many individuals. Knox Road acts as an Eden of the simulation order by suggesting that a regular and everyday action such as crossing the road can become transformed into a magical hyperreal moment of utopia. Simulation complete, run, re-order, repeat.
There is no real and no imaginary except at a certain distance. What happens when this distance, even the one separating the real from the imaginary, begins to disappear and to be absorbed by the model alone?
Currently, from one order of simulacra to the next, we are witnessing the reduction and absorption of this distance, of this separation which permits a space for ideal or critical projection.
- Jean Baudrillardxiii
Goldberg's work is often compared to other photorealist painters like Mary Pratt or Audrey Flack. One can easily see why the parallels are drawn, but Goldberg's technique, composition and subject matter tell the viewer a somewhat different story, one that more appropriately aligns her imagery with contemporary hyperrealist painters such as Jason De Graef, or Karel Funk.
         AUDREY FLACK, Crayola, 1972-73, 40 x 28” MARY PRATT, Reflecting on Fragility, 2012, 16 x 24”
De Graef, when speaking of his work, states that his paintings are about “staging an alternate reality, the illusion of verisimilitude on the painted surface, filtered so that it expresses my unique vision. Though my paintings may appear photoreal my goal is not to reproduce or document faithfully what I see one hundred percent, but also to create the illusion of depth and sense of presence not found in photographs.”xiv De Graef employs high- resolution digital photography strategy within his work, as many hyperrealist painters often do, but he also exploits, like Goldberg, the specific qualities of paint in order to create a non-space, an interstice between painting and photography.
Karel Funk's work takes visual cues and references from several traditional painting realms: realism, renaissance and portraiture to name a few. Funk, like De Graef, also borrows from the digital realm, crafting his paintings from projected computer screen imagery. The effects of which, also draw the viewer into a hypnotic non-space space. He purposely makes it difficult to draw out narratives or emotion from the portraits he creates:

 backgrounds are void of visual cues; and faces do not confront the viewer, eyes are usually closed, or looking away. Funk states “My paintings give you very little. There’s nothing there to connect with except for the formal qualities, the texture of skin, hair or clothing, and the questions you’re left with about ‘Who is that person?” xv Intrigued by the hyperreal realm of public transport, Funk utilises this commuting non-space/in-between space as the impetus for much of his recent work: “I was fascinated by how this boundary of personal space completely disappeared on the subway...You could see details of somebody’s ear or neck that you’d never observe just socializing with friends because there’s this boundary we all keep.”xvi
        KAREL FUNK, Untitled #7, 2004, 14 x 18” JASON DE GRAEF, Solstice, 2008, 18 x 36”
Goldberg, De Graef and Funk are three artists who, through their painting, attempt to remove the remaining vestiges delineating the distance between the real and the imaginary; they exploit information for information's sake, immersing the viewer into a hyperreal non-space.
V – ODYSSEY – Cultivating a critical practice
If, as Baudrillard states, the space for critical projection has been subsumed by hyperreality, how do we now engage in this current state, and how can an artist continue to contribute a constructive dialogue within the contemporary and historical canon of painting. The solution lies in the simulation. The best approach to deconstructing hyperreality is to endlessly de/reconstruct it.
Goldberg's exhibition culminates in the exposure of a new series of works that are not paintings from photographs, but photographs that have been painted on, a new simulacrum. These works are, a reverse order, and further abstracted study of Eden. Exploring a new artistic medium, as well as testing new materials and techniques, Goldberg's final works within this exhibition not only encapsulate the essence of all three of Baudrillard's orders. They also reference multiple Edens including those of Sexton and Steinbeck. Most importantly, they highlight an ever important humanist theme that flows throughout this work. At the core of any critical contemporary practice, when an artist challenges his or herself to expand their knowledge, grow their technique, and experiment with their method of delivery, they are invoking the potentiality found within the concept of timshel (thou mayest).xvii

 Ann Goldberg's Eden is as a monument to hyperreality, it is a work of science fiction and it is an open-ended invitation to the viewer. Consider and explore Eden as a hyperreality that folds in on itself, and welcome the fact that it is perpetually morphing.
The hyperreal is the real, embrace the simulation.
2013, photograph with acrylic polymer ink, 40 x 30” 2013, photograph with acrylic polymer ink, 40 x 30” 2013, photograph with acrylic polymer ink, 36 X 36”
   ...Terrestrial space has been virtually completely encoded, mapped, inventoried, saturated; has in some sense been shrunk by globalization; has become a collective marketplace not only for products but also for values, signs, and models, thereby leaving no room any more for the imaginary. ...the two phenomena are closely linked, and they are two aspects of the same general evolutionary process: a period of implosion, after centuries of explosion and expansion. When a system reaches its limits, its own saturation point, a reversal begins to takes place. And something happens also to the imagination.
From this point on, something must change...It is no longer possible to manufacture the unreal from the real, to create the imaginary from the data of reality. The process will be rather the reverse: to put in place "decentered" situations, models of simulation, and then to strive to give them the colours of the real, the banal, the lived; to reinvent the real as fiction, precisely because the real has disappeared from our lives.
- Jean Baudrillardxviii

i Tifin, John; Nobuyoshi Terashima (2005). "Paradigm for the third millennium".Hyperreality: 1. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperreality#cite_note-1)
ii Hyperreality -Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperreality#cite_note-1
iii Hyperreality -Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperreality#cite_note-1
iv Baudrillard's three orders of simulacra:
(1) natural, naturalistic simulacra: based on image, imitation, and counterfeiting. They are harmonious, optimistic, and aim at the
reconstitution, or the ideal institution, of a nature in God's image.
(2) productive, productionist simulacra: based on energy and force, materialized by the machine and the entire system of production. Their aim is Promethean: world-wide application, continuous expansion, liberation of indeterminate energy (desire is part of the utopias belonging to this order of simulacra).
(3) simulation simulacra: based on information, the model, cybernetic play. Their aim is maximum operationality, hyperreality, total control.
- Simulacra & Science Fiction an essay by Jean Baudrillard: http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/55/baudrillard55art.htm
vi The imaginary was a pretext of the real in a world dominated by the reality principle. Today, it is the real which has become the pretext of the model in a world governed by the principle of simulation. And, paradoxically, it is the real which has become our true utopia—but a utopia that is no longer a possibility, a utopia we can do no more than dream about, like a lost object.
- Simulacra & Science Fiction an essay by Jean Baudrillard: http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/55/baudrillard55art.htm
It could be propositioned that Eden may have once existed, but in essence and in todays current hyperrealist state, it is the story of Eden that propositionally precedes its own actual existence.
vii The word utopia was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas Morefor his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The word comes from the Greek ("not") and ("place") and means "no place".
The English homophone eutopia, derived from the Greek ("good" or "well") and ("place"), means "good place". Because of the identical pronunciation of "utopia" and "eutopia", gives rise to a double meaning.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia (under Etymology)
viii Hyperrealism incorporates and often capitalizes upon photographic limitations such as depth of field, perspective and range of focus. Anomalies found in digital images, such as fractalization, are also exploited to emphasize their digital origins... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperrealism_%28visual_arts%29
Hyperrealist painting differs from photorealist painting in that it takes cues from digital photography as opposed to analog photography. They 'hyper-ishness' of the painting successfully accentuates depth of field and sharp focus, it also frequently probes in high detail onto cropped areas, or focal points as opposed to taking into consideration a larger composition. For example, a hyperrealist painting would explore the reflections and subtle tonal changes of a set of keys, the focal point of the painting may very well be the keys alone. A photorealist painting might situate the keys on a table and place them in a room focussing on an overall ambience or tone. Both works are detail oriented, but hyperrealist work is detail fixated.
ix “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—‘Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?” ...Any writing which has influenced the thinking and the lives of innumerable people is important. Now, there are many millions in their sects and churches who feel the order, ‘Do thou,’ and throw their weight into obedience. And there are millions more who feel predestination in ‘Thou shalt.’ Nothing they may do can interfere with what will be. But ‘Thou mayest’! Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win.” Lee’s voice was a chant of triumph.
- passage from John Steinbeck – East of Eden, 1952
    Quote from: East of Eden, 1952 - John Steinbeck
Deejaying and Contemporary Art – Nicholas Bourriaud. - APPROPRIATION: Documents of Contemporary Art (Whitechapel Press) 2009
xi xii
xiii xiv xv
xvii xviii
The precession of Simulacra – Jean Baudrillard, 1981 - APPROPRIATION: Documents of Contemporary Art (Whitechapel Press) 2009
In a discussion of “Ecstasy and Inertia,” Baudrillard discusses how objects and events in contemporary society are continually surpassing themselves, growing and expanding in power. The “ecstasy” of objects is their great proliferation and expansion; ecstasy as going outside of or beyond oneself: the beautiful as more beautiful than beautiful in fashion, the real more real than the real in television, sex more sexual than sex in pornography. Ecstasy is thus the form of obscenity (fully explicit, nothing hidden) and of the hyperreality described by Baudrillard earlier taken to another level, redoubled and intensified. His vision of contemporary society exhibits a careening of growth and excrescence(croissance et excroissance), expanding and excreting ever more goods, services, information, messages or demands — surpassing all rational ends and boundaries in a spiral of uncontrolled growth and replication.
Douglas Kellner on Jean Baudrillard: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/baudrillard/
Simulacra & Science Fiction an essay by Jean Baudrillard: http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/55/baudrillard55art.htm
Artist's Website: http://jasondegraaf.blogspot.co.uk/
Karel Funk (Wmagazine – artist quote from article written by Diane Solaway
Karel Funk (Wmagazine – artist quote from article written by Diane Solaway
See the concept outlined in endnote 'ix'
Simulacra & Science Fiction an essay by Jean Baudrillard: http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/55/baudrillard55art.htm