PEDESTRIAN.TV and QAGOMA have joined forces to keep you abreast of the super-'Grammable Patricia Piccinini exhibition they're hosting until August 5. Read on to find out more.

Aussie contemporary artist you-should-already-know-about-but-maybe-don’t Patricia Piccinini is partway through her most extensive and ambitious exhibition ever at Brisbane‘s Gallery of Modern ArtPatricia Piccinini: Curious Affection is also the largest solo exhibition by an Aussie artist to ever take place at the gallery, reaching into the atrium and occupying the entire ground floor. 

It is, in short, absolutely MASSIVE.

Piccinini herself describes her artistic practice super succinctly, in turn summing up the entire, jaw-dropping exhibition:

I am interested in relationships: the relationship between the artificial and the natural, between humans and the environment. The relationships between beings, within families and between strangers. And the relationship between the audience and the artwork.

Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection is both a retrospective of her work over the last 20 years and a collection of real exciting new works. She’s known for her sculptures of fantastical semi-human creatures which collapse the boundaries between reality and artifice, and often exist within whole environments of other intriguing, hybridised and uncannily realistic figures. The work highlights a very human vulnerability, all while challenging what humanness is – particularly in the wake of advances in biotech and digital technologies.

Everything You Need To Know ‘Bout Patricia Piccinini’s Wacky Good Exhibition
Patricia Piccinini Australia b.1965 / Pneutopia 2018 / Ripstop nylon, shed, air / Courtesy the artist, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco.
 Let’s start with the super impressive new works, like Pneutopia, a portmanteau of ‘pneu’ (‘wind’ or ‘air’ in Ancient Greek) and ‘topia’, (‘place’): ‘a place of air’. It’s a three-storey inflatable sculpture suspended from GOMA’s ceiling, that appears to bloom forth from the roof of a garden shed.

In Piccinini’s own words, her aim was to literally transform the gallery space: “completely distrupt[ing] the sight-lines of the space, but at the same time insert[ing] a completely new place into it“. She said she loves the contrast of shed with the work itself: “this extraordinary, massive organic object issuing from this very ordinary suburban shed, which is itself out of place in the lofty space of the art museum“.

On top of Pneutopia, Piccinini transformed the 1.1 Gallery into an immersive multisensory environment, with The Field, featuring 3000 genetically modified flower sculptures, which fuse flowers with the Venus of Willendorf, a female figure carved from limestone around 28 000 BCE. The Field hosts a number of Piccinini’s most famous works, including Kindred, a sculpture of an orangutan-like mother and two babies, and The Bond, of a mother and her transgenic baby: one part human, one part pig, one part sports shoe.

Everything You Need To Know ‘Bout Patricia Piccinini’s Wacky Good Exhibition
Installation view Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, 2018, featuring The Field 2018 and Kindred 2018. Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA.

The Grotto is a second multisensory environment of hundreds of suspended forms like bats and fungi lining the walls, and the Eagle Egg Men watching over their young like emperor penguins. The space of both The Grotto and The Field becomes a kind of virtual world unto itself, mirroring the free-wheeling possibility of video games and other artificial realities.

A vintage caravan is also parked amidst wildlife inside the exhibition, and plays home to The Couple, two human-bear creatures holding each other closely. Piccinini explains the work:

I imagine that perhaps these are the only two creatures of their kind, and somehow they have found each other, and escaped. Their location within a caravan is very deliberate. A caravan is a space that is almost a house, but temporary – not rooted to one spot. It is domestic but also mobile, compact and cocoon-like. The caravan carries the connotation of disconnection from mainstream life, either nomadic or socially excluded.

Everything You Need To Know ‘Bout Patricia Piccinini’s Wacky Good Exhibition
Installation view Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, 2018, featuring The Couple 2018. Photograph: Natasha Harth, QAGOMA.
We could really deep dive further into even more of Patricia Piccinini’s specific works, but it’s getting late and we don’t want to oversaturate you. We do want to quickly draw your attention to the A+ line-up for Patricia Piccinini Up Late, Fridays from June 8 to July 6, where GOMA stays open beyond their reg closing time of 5pm, and plays host to a string of DJs, bands, bars and talks. The line-up is chockers with local talent: Amaya Laucirica, Xylouris White, Lydia Lunch Retrovirus, Zola Jesus, Miss Banks, Cable Ties and The Gooch Palms.

If you’re keen to know more – and to have a nosey in the flesh – your best bet is just to buy yourself a ticket to check out the 50-odd works that form Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection at GOMA, March 24 to August 5, HERE.

Image: The Young Family 2002 Silicone, polyurethane, leather, plywood, human hair / 80 x 150 x 110cm / Bendigo Art Gallery Collection, Bendigo. RHS Abbott Bequest Fund 2003 / Courtesy the artist