Patricia Piccinini

It’s fitting that Patricia Piccinini’s latest exhibition is part of Art Month, a festival celebrating Sydney’s vibrant and diverse contemporary art scene. Piccinini may have spent the last two decades showcasing her work across the world, but this will be her seventh solo exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery. Sydneysiders can’t get enough.

Heralded as one of Australia’s most distinguished artists, each offering has managed to intrigue and horrify. Most importantly, they get her viewers talking. Her latest series is no different. The ideas are still running strong. Although, she does continue to revisit certain themes and it’s not the first time fertility has been explored.

The sculptor is a master of silicone – to the point that it’s her obsession – and boy is the end result fascinating. In The Listener innocence shines through a sweet, little creature. Its half smile is welcoming but a closer inspection reveals webbed hands and coarse hair running across its chubby back. Is it a creature or grotesque monster?

A quick scan of the space shows various forms of muted-pink flesh. The skin is so lifelike it’s off-putting. There are moles, veins, and openings filled with pussy lumps.

Atlas may have less hair than the others but it only draws attention to the neat little orifice, an unpleasant reminder of human bodily functions. It’s all so repulsive but strangely compelling.

In 2003 Piccinini was selected to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale. A few years later she was awarded with a council residency in New York. Without a doubt, her pieces create an impact. But it’s a fine line between a dream and a nightmare. She may have spread dreams under our feet but they will also haunt our minds. Or at the least, make us sick to the stomach.

Published in City Hub online and in print on March 9, 2013


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