5 October – 28 October 2006

Patricia Piccinini Alice (drawing), 2006, graphite on paper, 57 x 77 cm

Drawing has always been at the core of my practice, at the beginnings of my work. Some of my earliest serious work after leaving art school was drawing. Since then, while my work has not always ended up as drawing, it has always started there, or at least moved through drawing. No matter where it ends—sculpture, video, photography whatever—my practice begins with ideas and then become drawings. For much of the last ten years, I have primarily used drawing as a way to develop ideas and then to communicate those ideas during the production process. I don’t show these drawings. I don’t personally regard them as art works. They are part of the process; partial, necessary rather than important, more or less resolved—literally unfinished.

These drawings are different. They are finished; both in the sense of resolved and polished and in the sense of complete within themselves. They tell small stories and the intimacy of the medium suits the intimacy of the stories that they tell. These small stories are important because they allow me to expand the world around the creatures that I have developed digitally and in silicone sculptures. They also allow me to shift the focus away from the creatures and on to us. It allows me to looks at other aspects of the relationship between them and us and to explore it through a series of moments. It also allows me to find new elements for my world.

There are a lot of babies in these drawings. I’m interested in children for a number of reasons. For one, a young child represents possibility, both positive and negative. Also babies don’t make judgments. The world is totally new to them—they just take it in. They have no expectation and are always surprised. Children aren’t threatening. On the contrary, they bring out the best in us; we want to care for them, protect them.

In this case, I use children to evoke the idea of vulnerability. In my work, it is often the creatures that seem vulnerable. They are mostly reliant on us and at our mercy. In these works it is us—the humans, the children—that are vulnerable. The situations that these children are in feel uncomfortable. They are just too close to the creatures and it’s creepy. It is ambiguous whether there is any animosity or just the rough and tumble of play. Like that moment, as a child reaches out to a pat even the most familiar pet, when we worry that they will be bitten.

—Patricia Piccinini, 2006

Patricia Piccinini represented Australia at the 50th Venice Biennale, in 2003, with a group of biomorphic sculptures that explore themes of biological engineering and ethics titled, We are Family. Piccinini has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne and the National Gallery of Victoria. She exhibited in the 2002 Biennale of Sydney, the 2002 Liverpool Biennale () and the 2001 Berlin Biennale. Her work is held by most public collections in as well as numerous public, private and corporate collections in , Europe and the Her work is currently part of Redefined at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC. This year she has upcoming solo exhibitions at ARTIUM, the Centro-Museo Vasco de Arte Contemporaneo in Vitoria, Spain and the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa, USA.

View exhibition