Patricia Piccinini, A Tangled Path Sustains Us

30 Dec 2022

Patricia Piccinini presents her third solo exhibition at Hostfelt Gallery, creating a life-size diorama of a forest from recycled scrap wood and paper where viewers enter an immersive space inhabited by mutated beings which evolved to survive the existential threats of human impact. Piccinini confronts her viewers with possible ecological and genetic consequences of the way we humans live. Thus, questioning how we threaten other species, humans, and the planet we cohabitate.

Piccinini’s creations are eerily life-like; moulded out of silicone and individually hand-punched fur or hair, they are the reflections of the consequences of climate changes, environmental degradation and theriocide. Though most of Piccinini’s creations come from her imagination, one work in the exhibition refers to the devastating aftermath of Australian wildfires, with an image of two children saving a koala making headlines in the media. While the photo was used to illustrate a heartwarming tale, Piccinini notes that the rescuers are as vulnerable as the rescued — indeed victims in their own way. To which she ponders, how can we expect our children to solve the environmental calamities they inherit from us?

Empathy is at the heart of Piccinini’s practice. She envisions a co-mingling of animals, plants, machines and humans, she asks us to question the “otherness” of creatures, cyber-forms, or humans who don’t resemble the “norm.” Those viewers may react to these beings’ exposed vulnerabilities by recoiling, which speaks to the challenge of feeling a connection to those we consider “different.”

A Tangled Path Sustains Us will be displayed at Hosfelt Gallery until 28 January 2023.

Image: Patricia Piccinini, Haven, 2022, Silicone, fibreglass, human hair, 28 x 19 x 18 cm, Edition of 6