For more than two decades, Patricia Piccinini has explored the potentialities—both liberating and threatening—inherent in our advancing capabilities in genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. Her meticulously-crafted sculptures envision a co-mingling of animal, plant, machine and human, questioning the ‘otherness’ of creatures, cyber-forms, and humans who don’t resemble ‘the norm.’ These imagined beings are nearly possible, embodying and reflecting the complex ethical issues of our times.


Connection and empathy are at the heart of Piccinini’s practice. The creatures she envisions share a deep emotional bond in a trans-species, posthuman version of love and relational ethics. In her catalog essay for Piccinini’s enormous survey exhibition, Curious Affection, at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane, Rosi Braidotti states, “We need to rethink the human, the non-human, the inhuman, the trans- and post-human in an era defined both as the fourth industrial revolution and the sixth extinction… Piccinini challenges us to review our preconceived ideas and socially enforced relationships with the otherwise embodied.”


"The world I create exists somewhere between the one we know and one that is almost upon us. However, what I imagine is neither the nightmare future of environmental ruin nor the brave new world of perfect scientific progress. Instead I focus on the internal, emotional lives of the new creatures that might emerge, along with questions about the kinds of relationships that might come to light along side them. My creatures, while strange and unsettling, are not threatening. Instead, it is their vulnerability that often most comes to the fore. They plead with us to look beyond their unfamiliarity, and ask us to accept them. It is surprising how quickly we grow used to them, which reminds us that this sort of thing is not as far in the future as we might think. We are surrounded by hidden genetic engineering and biotechnology in our food and our animals already." — Patricia Piccinini 


Patricia Piccinini was born in Sierra Leone in 1965 and currently resides in Melbourne. She was chosen to represent Australia in the 2003 Venice Biennale and her work has been the subject of numerous solo museum exhibitions worldwide. This year the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane presented a major solo exhibition of her work, and her 2016 solo museum exhibition in Brazil had the second highest attendance record of any global exhibition that year.

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