The Young Family

The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini

From the artist, Patricia Piccinini:

I take it for granted that technology will continue to advance. There are people trying to resist technological advancement as a whole, but I am not one of them. On the other hand, I’m not unquestioning of technology. I do not think technology is good or bad, it is just technology. And as technology progresses, we will need to figure out how we are going to use it. Over the years, various technologies, especially medical ones, have really changed our idea of what it means to be human. During this time, ideas about our impact on and responsibilities towards our environment have also evolved. It used to be that we defined ‘technology’ as that which we can control and ‘nature’ that which we cannot, but we would like to tame. These definitions do not longer apply. Our attitude changed under the influence of technological progress. Nature has gone from being the uncontrolled wild to being a ‘resource’ to be exploited…

In an article from this year, “Some thoughts about my practice,” Piccinini elaborates further on her work:

I am interested in relationships: the relationship between the artificial and the natural, between humans and the environment. The relationships between beings, within families and between strangers. And the relationship between the audience and the artwork.

My work is never about one thing alone, it is always about a family or an ecosystem. Even when a creature is alone there is a relationship with the viewer.

Over the years, I have built up a sort of alternative world that exists just beyond the real world we live in. It is strange but familiar at the same time. It exists as moments, objects and images the overlap with the real world in gallery space. For this exhibition I wanted to bring this entire world to life.

This is a world where things mix and intermingle, where nothing stays in it’s place. It is a world where animal, plant, machine and human unite and commingle. We have to ask ourselves, if it is so hard to figure out where one thing starts and another ends, can we really continue to believe in the barriers that separate us. via Speculative Everything

Piccinini’s work inspires me because of her high quality surrealist illusions. It is easy to believe these creatures could exist. They feel probable in our ever-evolving world. Her works make me consider the implications of how I relate to the natural world and how I relate to others. She brings out the reality that we are creatures. We are more similar to animals than many of us like to think. We try to create a “human” world, a “domesticated” world, or “virtual” worlds, but in the end we are still bone and marrow, carbon, dust and will return to dust. In the process of our designing, we must not forget what we are and the relationship we have with the biological world around us. We create nothing in the sense of raw material. Everything we do is changing something that exists into something else. Some of these changes are irreversible. We must carefully consider every one.