Sam Jinks’ Hyperrealism

The Messenger a spectacular work by internationally lauded artist Sam Jinks. The sculpture is inspired by a statue of the Greek goddess Iris from the west pediment of the Parthenon (now in the British Museum).

The Messenger is the second major art commission by the Hellenic Museum and follows the unique ONEIROI installation by artist Bill Henson which also inspired dialogue between the aesthetics of the ancient past and today.​

The Messenger is a permanent exhibition at the Hellenic Museum. 



The Messenger Goddess

Sculptor Sam Jinks’ inspiration for his new work is the statue of the goddess Iris which once graced the west pediment of the Parthenon. Iris was the swift messenger goddess with the ability to communicate between the gods and mortals; moving beyond the realm of the living and freely into the Underworld.

Iris, a goddess of liminal spaces, is for Jinks a metaphor for the way we can view the Parthenon sculptures. While we are separated by the creators of the Parthenon by over 2400 years, by focusing on the details- the contours of the marble, the subtle movements of the sculptor, the gentle care taken in forming the bodies, and the resistance of the tools over the marble surface, the divide between the contemporary and the ancient recedes. In this way we can attempt to decode the meaning and sentiment left behind by ancient sculptors for whom the works were a testament to the power and magnificence of the gods. By creating a work with its roots in classical sculpture and mythology Jinks seeks to connect with an ancient tradition while guided by contemporary sensibilities and using the tools available to a sculptor today.


The Artist

The work of Melbourne-based, Australian artist Sam Jinks draws on our shared fascination with the human figure, a fascination that has long pervaded the history of Western sculpture. His hyper-realistic representations of the body, constructed from clay casts, poured silicone, fibreglass, resin and human hair reflects the impermanence of life and the body’s fragility, while simultaneously capturing the intimacy, strength, empathy and vulnerability which defines us.


Sam Jinks’ commission was made possible by the support of the Victorian Government and philanthropists Peter and Mary Mitrakas. It was produced as part of a cross-cultural partnership between the Hellenic Museum and the Benaki Museum, Athens.