Mycorrhizal network II, 2024
Aluminium drink and fish cans
49.5 x 49.5 cm

This sculpture is part of a lineage that extends from Hall's earlier series, ‘Paradisus Terrestris entitled’ (1996), now in the collection of the NGV, and ‘Paradisus Terrestris’ (1989-90), now in the collection of QAGOMA. These series', informally known as Hall’s ‘sardine can’ works, delve into the intersections of human anatomy, botanical imagery, and cultural commentary.

Drawing inspiration from these acclaimed series', Hall has repurposed a sardine tin and an aluminium can to create 'Mycorrhizal network II' wherein the erogenous zone of a human body is juxtaposed with a botanically accurate representation of native Australian flora, in this case, the Mycorrhizal network – an underground system of funghi and plant roots which serve as a conduit for the exchange of essential nutrients, water, and minerals between interconnected plants in a forest. This juxtaposition presented by Hall represents a visual metaphor for the collision between culture and nature, echoing themes of environmentalism and colonialism prevalent throughout Hall's oeuvre.

In 2008, art critic and journalist Sebastian Smee wrote: “Fiona Hall favours installations and long series of works that riff on ecological and political themes. But her work will last and continue to impress because it is so full of wit, so original and so grown-up. It is conceptual art with a human pulse and it never fails to delight.”

Fifteen years on, there is little doubt that Fiona Hall's dedication to ecological and political themes, combined with her originality and wit, ensures her continued legacy as one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.

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