As a storyteller, Patricia Piccinini gathers information from scientific research and current events to envision genetically and physically adapted organisms. These creatures, predominantly constructed with fiberglass, silicone, and hair, are geared for survival against human impact and rapidly changing environmental conditions. The creatures’ reconfigured bodies and new survival mechanisms hint at possibilities of new earth-dwelling species, modes of resilience, and evolutionary potentials in response to our changing Earth/home.
Inspired by local ecosystems, a life-size diorama constructed with recycled materials shelters Piccinini’s sculptures. The diorama is accompanied by a film following the journey of a human animal and a fictional Earth being walking through landscapes from Piccinini’s home of Australia.
Piccinini’s work illustrates scenes of mothering, fear, and alertness. Her depiction of recognizable physical and emotive mannerisms offers viewers the chance to connect with the sculptures, possibly inciting responses such as empathy, disgust, and fear. The sculptures’ mammalian bodies and expressions reduce the option for dissociation; any discomfort that may arise is that of making eye contact with an unfamiliar relative.
Patricia Piccinini, A Tangled Path Sustains Us (installation view, Hosfelt Gallery, 2022). Courtesy of the artist and Hosfelt Gallery. Photo: Miles Petersen.