The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini
A friend and I were deep in the tunnels of late-night Internet mining when he sent me a link to the image above. Accidental discovery! Ten minutes later we were scraping our jaws off the floor while perusing Patricia Piccinini’s website. “Young Family” is part of a series devoted to genetic engineering, tradition and our potential metamorphoses as result of rapid scientific and social change.
These creatures are designed by Patricia and created by teams of sculptors, painters and upholsterers. Beyond the mind-boggling technical aspects of her mixed media installations, Piccinini focuses on questioning science, humanity’s fading sense of acceptable reality and the discrepancies between physical and emotional beauty. From the essay about this pieces:
The sculpture puts on public display all the physical attributes denied in the days of plastic surgery, airbrushes and full-body waxes – fat, wrinkles, moles hairs and bumps. Their owner has her hands and feet curled up on themselves and lies in a semi-fetal position of defense and vulnerability, suggesting a kind of withdrawal from this display. At the same time, her humane demeanor and maternal generosity make these fleshly imperfections [for that is how we are socialized to see them] seem less important than acceptance and inclusiveness. Piccinni calls her “beautiful”, saying “she is not threatening, but a face you could love, and a face inlove with her family.
For all its grotesqueness, this sculptural tableau focuses on the loving, nurturing relationship of mother and babies that is fundamental to life This unifying quality – emphasized by the kidney-shaped enclosure of the group as a family unit – is at odds with the composite heterogeneity of the creature.
What I thought to be concept art for the Dark Crystal Pt. 2 turned out to be touching social commentary. I do still enjoy these sculptures on a purely visual level and come back to Patricia’s website to study every pore, fold and mystery orifice. A few more below the jump.
The Long Awaited
Still Life With Stem Cells 2002 silicone, acrylic, human hair, clothing, carpet
Surrogate (for the Northern Hairynosed Wombat) 2005 Silicone, fibreglass, plywood, leather, fur