‘Curious Affection’ Hybrids of Patricia Piccinini’s Biotechnology Art

In her “Curious Affection” exhibition, world-renowned artist Patricia Piccinini and her DNA modified beings, credible and strangely familiar, invite us to find beauty in a transgenic social order not ruled by ideas of normality or perfection.  I was hesitant about visiting this curious collection but enjoyed the experience.

INTRODUCTION:  On a grand scale, the creations of Patricia Piccinini occupy the entire ground floor of Gallery Of Modern Art, Brisbane Australia, with a retrospective of her most recognisable works from the past 20 years.  It is Piccinini’s most ambitious solo exhibition to date, running from March to August 2018, with a collection of wall art and immersive multisensory installations – including new works like Heartwood (featured above) and a large-scale inflatable sculpture Pneutopia (not shown) exclusively conceived for the Gallery which rises effortlessly through an opening to the floor above.

– SOME VIEWERS MAY FIND THESE IMAGES DISTURBING –

TAP OR HOVER OVER IMAGES TO READ MY PICTORIAL COMMENTS.  Of course, this doesn’t convey lighting or sound effects!  My photographs are by no means exhaustive, there were many more art works and hybrid creations going about their daily lives.

Our guide explained most models are made of silicone, fibreglass, polyurethane and human hair – for a deeper understanding, Patricia Piccinini has recorded video stories and GOMA blog shows the exhibition conception to completion.

CLOSING:  Like most art, there is more to it than meets the eye.  Patricia Piccinini’s works are complex.  We are asked to think about our place in a world where advances in biotechnology, genetic engineering, organ harvesting and digital technologies are challenging the boundaries of humanity.

The more I learned about this exhibition, the more I understood the science, the pathos and the dangerous waters we may sail into one day, much the same as the internet was launched on a naïve world.  With intelligence and compassion we may learn to create something new without destroying the old.

Gretchen Bernet-Ward