As the journey into Patricia Piccinini's exhibition begins, one is greeted by an extraordinarily vivid and green set of eyes embedded within the first the many 'Chimeras' in her creation. While looking upon such a greeter's sombre but inquisitive gaze, the lull of gentle nature sounds beckons you into the world of Piccinini's creation.
"I'm interested in relationships. The relationship between the artificial and the natural. Between humans and the environment. The relationship between beings, within families and between strangers."
For over three decades, Piccinini has explored the bioethical challenges that come with climate change, technology, and the progression of science through hyper-realistic sculptures. The intimate relationship and responsibility that humanity has with nature are narratively woven into her sculptures through the careful use of silicon, fibreglass, resin, and unorthodoxly, human hair.
While appearances seem bizarre, off-putting, and strange at first, there is an allure to the way her sculptures are presented – to evoke empathy and deeper understanding. A sculpture of Patricia herself embracing a Chimera stands in a flower field of wombs at the entrance to set the tone of her exhibit - That sustaining humanity's developing relationship with the world around us will pull into question moralities which require empathy and a willingness in remaining impartial to observe a world beyond black and white.
Spanning seven sections of different themes, We Are Connected features a mixture of sculptures, videos, and collages starting from the early 2000s to 2021. More than a menagerie of the strange, the exhibition invites guests to explore both the artificial and natural, and how the two may co-exist in an ever-evolving world.
"Some people may find my work strange or ugly at first, but for me it is always about the journey from repulsion to love".
Piccinini's work is not for everybody, especially when confronting difficult conversations such as the future of CRISPR technology and its part in interspecies connections. She explores the ethics and boundaries of scientific intervention through her creations, opening discussions on the choices we may have to explore in our worsening climate and ecological environment.
Her work, however, is presented carefully with a self-understanding that the topics presented are not easy to open up to. Walking through the exhibit, the descriptions for each section often end with questions for her guests. The message: To have an open mind and heart, and to look beyond black and white.
Ultimately, Piccinini’s body of work addresses the profound question of existence. As we enter a world that is progressing with artificial intelligence and genetic engineering, the lines between dystopia and paradise start to blur; what has changed is not simply what is physically possible, but only the ethical landscapes permit for any further progressions in this trajectory.
We are Connected then opens a space for dialogue: How will we co-exist with the creatures and plants we share this earth with? How will science and technology play their roles in our present and future? More importantly, how do we feel about it?
We Are Connected is open to visitors at Singapore's ArtScience Museum from 5th August 2022 to 29th January 2023.
- Website: http://www.patriciapiccinini.net/
- IG: @patricia.piccinini
- Website: www.marinabaysands.com/museum