Patricia Piccinini has built a career around the negotiation and mutation of the hyperrealist human or otherwise anthropomorphised form. Her foam, silicon, paint and human hair sculptures echo concerns with biotechnology and the increasingly blurring interface between the living and synthetic.
Piccinini’s latest show There are no strangers, which opened at Tolarno Galleries over the weekend, sees the former Venice Biennale representative render an uncanny world of hybrid anatomical forms and typically creepy critters.
A piece dubbed Nectar comprises an amorphous skin and hair-covered organism, a seemingly endless caramel-coloured ooze seeping from its one orifice. The Student, meanwhile, sees a petite childlike figure – complete with pig’s snout – propped atop a towering pile of texts on wildlife and geography. There are several other points of intrigue and unease. The Welcomed Guest is particularly discomforting, its mutant protagonist – his hands and feet sprouting blade-like talons – embracing a small girl with a taxidermy peacock looking on. It’s quite an apt précis of Piccinini’s wider body of work. These beings are loaded with human signifiers and data, yet are unmistakably removed. As a result, their bearings and interactions remain elusive. Good, bad, intimacy and evil mix and mingle.
There are no strangers shows at Tolarno Galleries until April 21.