Hosfelt Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of recent work by Patricia Piccinini this year at ArtInternational Istanbul.
Based in Melbourne, Patricia Piccinini (b. 1965, Freetown, Sierra Leone) creates hyperrealist sculptures that envision transgenic, humanoid constructs—eerily lifelike hybrids that are both repellant and loveable. These works explore ideas of protean corporeality—the body as essentially mutable. From the cellular level of organisms to the physical appearance of people, we now expect everything to be changeable to suit our desires. Scientific and technological discoveries of recent decades present incredible possibilities for curing disease and solving chronic global crises, yet they come with ominous ethical considerations. With undertones of both empathy and concern, Piccinini’s work invites critical examination of the potential consequences of biotechnological innovations and genetic engineering.
The exhibition includes two new large sculptures and several paintings and drawings. Piccinini’s process always begins with drawing as a means of shaping ideas that become embodied in her three-dimensional sculptures. The three new graphite-on- paper works presented here reflect on the nest-like qualities of hair and a symbiotic avian/human relationship.
The piece that dominates the booth is Boot Flower (2015), an enigmatic human/plant/animal hybrid. With long hair flowing down her back, she appears to incubate a pile of eggs, while her fleshy, flower-like head twists to reveal a neck and nose grown from a cowboy boot. Her belly is tattooed with a bird-like pattern reminiscent of cowboy boot designs. As with all of Piccinini’s work, the hyperrealism of the sculpture is subverted by the deliberate anti-naturalism of the creature itself. Yet Boot Flower elicits pathos, despite her strangeness.
Metaflora (Twin Rivers Mouth) (2015) is another new sculpture, this one more plant-like in structure, with long stems sprouting flowers composed of flesh, hair, tongues and claws. As a plant that appears to need something other than sunlight and soil for nourishment and growth, it has risen a notch or two on the food chain. It brings to mind the unknown consequences of genetically modified crops.
Also included in the exhibition are paintings of silicone drips on linen that both contain and contextualize the sculptures. In these works Piccinini explores the inherent material properties of silicone as well as its ability to mimic the properties of flesh. The spills and drips are reminiscent of the creatures she creates: unlovely and unwanted yet beautiful and irrepressible all the same. The same flesh tints that are used to create the sculptures give each work a unique skin tone, which taken together suggests a multiplicity of ethnicities. They punctuate the exhibition with an optimistic embrace of diversity in all its potential iterations.