Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Today I attended the Relativity exhibition by Patricia Piccinni and wow! what a compelling exhibition.

I was repelled and yet attracted to the beautifully ugly 'mutants'. I so wanted to love them in their ugliness and yet was turned off by their 'otherness', I wanted to touch and yet was scared of what I would feel when I did...

The children are more than life-like they are real, just paused in time. I was showing a friend some photos from the art gallery website (Art Gallery of Western Australia) and she asked if they were part of the exhibit - thinking that they were real children that had posed for the photographs.

Piccinni is commenting on the political and emotional ramifications of experimental biotechnology with fantasty mutant beings as the centerpiece of each sculpture. The beings are fleshy with a covering of light, bristly fur, reminiscent of baby elephants. They are ugly and yet their expressions are vulnerable and so human like that you can not help but feel a connection to them.

Two of the sculptures don't 'fit'. They are still expressing the same ideas but they do not have the humanoid connection. They are based on scooters and the idea that they too can express human emotion. The sculpture titled 'Blood is Thicker' shows two small scooters nestled together, seemingly sheltering each other from some, unknown threat; with their little dials showing plaintive expressions with the needles on the dials down-turned. The other 'misfit' sculpture in the series was called 'Stags' and it depicted two bronze scooters in the pose of a pair of battling stags, they expressed a power that you would not normally associate with two not so powerful scooters.

For anyone wanting to challenge their thinking or wanting to give themselves something to think about, go along, have a look. Tell me how it makes you feel, I'd love to know if anyone else experiences the same conflicting emotions.

Here's some links to other reports on the exhibition.