Surreal Vitality

Sorayama reimagines the shark in a sculptural form, giving eternal life to this apex predator.

By: Samuel Trotman

Japanese contemporary artist Hajime Sorayama is a pioneer in hyperrealism, an art form that combines sensuality and technology depicted through his humanoid robots. While Sorayama has enjoyed a particular cult status for his sensual cyborgs —who appear empowered rather than objectified —he has also received mainstream commercial attention through his numerous collaborations with big names like, Dior, Bvlgari, Roger Dubois and Disney.

Though Sorayama is best known for his erotic portrayals of feminized robots, the artist has applied the same futurism and mechanical aesthetic to robotised terrestrial and aquatic animals too. His “Aquatic” series dives into a brave new techno-underwater world, where the realms of the ocean and technology merged to spawn a new breed of chromium sea creatures. First introduced in the early 1980s, the “Aquatic” series presented hyperreal airbrush illustrations of mechanical trouts, tuna, dolphins and most famously the “Sorayama Shark.”

“Through his accurate modeling ability and fine metalwork, the artist not only recreates the vigor and imposing manner of deep-sea sharks, but also activates static sculptures with a dynamic scene, thus showing its surreal vitality,” Nanzuka gallery writes on the shark series.

Decades after the original release, Sorayama reimagined the shark in a sculptural form, giving eternal life to this apex predator. In 2021, Nanzuka hosted a solo exhibition dedicated to the Sorayama Shark at K11 art space in Guangzhou. The exhibition included an installation of giant shark sculptures with a length of 3.5 m for the very first time as well as this small scale rendition of the cyber shark in chrome and gold. This special edition sculpture measures in at 85 cm in length, and is forged from alloy with gold plating. It is hand signed by the artist making it a must-have collectible for any Sorayama enthusiast.

Sorayama Shark