There are many words to describe Hyper Real Nights at the National Gallery and yet many patrons will come away speechless. Thank goodness poet Omar Musa is there to pluck your impressions from your confused brain for a thin slice of closure. The word that kept bouncing around my head after the initial surprise wore off was uncanny, my curiosity had been peaked from the beginning.

But before delving into this fascinating world there will be a hyper real morsel and a cocktail to start the brains journey and to delight the stomach. Dancers of the Australian Dance Party mix with the patrons, hinting at the exhibition to come, Musa’s poetry sprinkles a few words into the mix, something for you to hold onto as you move forward.

Led by the dancers, guests will encounter an exploration of the body, the real one with all the flaws. Then beyond reality before you’re ready, the stretched, inhuman, yet could they be the smallest bit like us? Room by room you will experience art and the body on a different level, impossible, absurd, transcendent, each rendered with extreme technical skill. Even the making of the works is an interesting read.

The creators of this weird and wonderful reality are an international bunch, from American pioneers George Segal, John De Andrea and Duane Hanson, our own Australian artists Patricia Piccinini, and Ron Mueck, and from further out Maurizio Cattelan from Italy and Sun Yuan from China.

This could be a bit uncomfortable. Ever mistaken a mannequin for a real person standing an inch too close to you? Hyper real is that feeling manifested. Some of them even move, so there’s another level of difficulty for your already awed brain. Surprised sounds bounce around the room as people realise this at different times.

Virtual reality takes all of this another step, surrounding the wearer in the tranquillity of space and the immediacy of moving objects. Spinning in the chair is a mind-bending experience as the scene stretches out beyond the goggles. All senses are catered for, there might even be an opportunity to explore with your fingers.

Hyper Real continues during the day but there is just one more night to go Friday 24th November, a fun, unexpected night which brings a living element into the proceedings. Make sure you get your ticket because this is an experience you won’t be able to have vicariously.

Hyper Real Nights

Time: 6pm Friday 24th November

Place: National Gallery of Australia

Cost: $55, $50 concession, $45 for members