Simulacra (plural) or simulacrum is an archaic term for a ‘likeness’ or a similarity. It can be used as ‘representation’ in an art form like a statue or painting in post modernism. Photorealism can be termed as a form of artistic simulacrum, or where the artist is copying a photo so that the painting is a copy of a copy.
French philosopher and postmodernist Jean Baudrillard argued that the term is not a copy of the real but a form in its own right. He sums it up in four ‘realities’; 1. Truth in its own right – a reflection of reality, 2. a perversion of reality, 3. pretense of reality (where the model doesn’t exist) 4. simulacrum – that which bears no relation to any reality whatsoever.
The simulacra that I am interested in is an imitation of a recognised reality in nature. See kirstyfliesfree ‘s wonderful photograph to see how this works in nature. Trees in particular lend their form to the human body shape. Sometimes they can make you stop in your tracks……
Trompe l’oeil an original Baroque term literally mean ‘trick the eye’, it is an optical illusion like this painting by Caso which shows a boy climbing out of his framed painting. Trompe l’oeil is usually reserved for vista’s: beautiful views from mythical windows, but false bookcases, interesting perspectives, and murals.
In prehistoric times recognised natural forms would be seen as Gods incarnate – and it’s easy to see why our ancestors were awe-struck. Fantastic natural simulacrum occurs all around the world – and this gallery has an extensive range of images. It’s hard to remain stoney faced whilst looking at them:) I wonder if that’s where that term came from?
“Simulacrum (plural: -cra), from the Latin simulacrum which means “likeness, similarity”, is first recorded in the English language in the late 16th century,
used to describe a representation of another thing, such as a statue or
a painting, especially of a god; by the late 19th century, it had
gathered a secondary association of inferiority: an image without the
substance or qualities of the original………”