Yavuz Gallery is proud to announce internationally acclaimed Australian-artist Patricia Piccinini in Tales From an Expanding World. Presented in conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2023, the exhibition marks Piccinini’s first commercial solo exhibition in Southeast Asia, and is held in parallel with the artist’s ongoing institutional retrospective, Patricia Piccinini: We Are Connected at ArtScience Museum, Singapore.
Piccinini is one of Australia’s most important artists who has represented the country at the Venice Biennale in 2003. Her practice resides in the complex sphere of the real and hyperreal, the factual and speculative, and is mindfully engaged with a wide range of ideas from concepts of the uncanny to the advent of the cyborg, biopolitics and posthumanism. Based on a deep curiosity for the natural world, Piccinini’s wonder situates her practice at the frontier of some of the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
Renowned for her enigmatic sculptures that depict hybrid humanoid creatures, Piccinini has challenged frontiers of the hyperrealist tradition in sculpture. Working across an array of materials such as silicone, fibreglass and human hair, she creates surreal beings based upon genetic science developments and historical studies. Creatures with soulful brown eyes and long ears, scales, or webbed extremities, appear simultaneously captivating and endearing. Central to Piccinini’s practice are the dynamics between families and species, science and nature, art and the environment. Charting a terrain in which scientific progress and ethical questions are intertwined, her works challenge audiences to question our relationship with the natural world, and ultimately what it means to be human today.
Tales From an Expanding World continues Piccinini’s exploration of the issues, concerns and possibilities inherent in contemporary life through recent major sculptures and wall works.
As the artist states:
At a moment when it is possible to be overwhelmed by things that we are losing, by the fears of species lost and biodiversity compromised, I think it is important to believe that the future still holds the possibility for positive change. That is the expanding world that I imagine with these works, a world adjacent to ours, impossible but possible to imagine.
This is also the expanding world that is opened up by technological breakthroughs like CRISPR, which threatens to allow the mutants of my imagination to become viable. I wonder how we feel about the new possibilities that such a world allows, and what we think about the ethics of this new world that we are creating.
The ‘technologised’ nature of works such as The Balance represents this idea of the new natural in our digital age. In the momentous sculpture, Piccinini depicts machines imagined as animals, locked in an ambiguous clinch. Drawing on the history of animals in art, The Balance reflects the balance between humans and the rest of nature as dangerous and volatile, while exploring the naturalisation of technology in a hybrid ecology.
Piccinini’s series of works in glass, Eager Bloom and Peridot Carriage, debuts her elemental abstractions. These biomorphic forms are the intersection of raw natural elements, sand and fire and human breath, encapsulating a powerful intermingling to represent fecundity and its endless potentiality.
The exhibition also includes two new figurative works, Clutch and Haven. Both these works use warmth and humour to undermine traditional dichotomies, while at the same time expressing Piccinini’s deeply held and sincere belief in the importance of care in our society. Care is visible in all her works, whether it is the obvious care that is lavished on the making of all of the works, or it is central concept as it is these two sculptures.
In Tales From an Expanding World, Piccinini presents possibilities of our contemporary society as complex and ambiguous through a deeply personal perspective. They imagine an idea of nature that is no longer understood as being opposed to ‘culture’, posing questions on how we define nature if it contains people rather than excluding them; and to what extent our understanding of nature as ‘other’ enables us to exploit it.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Patricia Piccinini (b. 1965) is renowned for her complex and immersive installations and sculptures that urge us to reflect on the technological age we live in and to explore our nuanced relationships with other species and ecosystems. As curator Rachel Kent notes: ‘Since the early 1990s, Piccinini has pursued an interest in the human form and its potential for manipulation and enhancement through bio-technical intervention. From the mapping of the human genome to the growth of human tissue and organs from stem cells, Piccinini’s art charts a terrain in which scientific progress and ethical questions are intertwined.’
Selected to represent Australia at the 2003 Venice Biennale, Piccinini created We are Family, a project that transformed the Australian Pavilion into a home of the future. Expressing her fascination with the relationship between what is considered natural and what is considered artificial, We are Family was critically acclaimed and ARTnews America singled her out as ‘an artist to watch.’
Piccinini has exhibited widely at institutions such as Victoria and Albert Museum (UK); Tate Modern (UK); National Gallery of Australia; Mori Art Museum (Japan); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul (Korea); National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington (USA); Arken Museum (Denmark); ArtScience Museum (Singapore), amongst many others. She has also participated in the Berlin, Gwang’ju, Liverpool and Sydney Biennales. In 2021, Piccinini presented major retrospective exhibitions travelling across Cromwell Place, London (UK); Kai Art Gallery, Tallinn (Estonia); Kunsthalle Krems (Austria); and
Centre for Contemporary Art, Torun (Poland).
Piccinini has been featured and reviewed in numerous international sites, including the New York Times, The Guardian, ArtNews, CNN, amongst many others.