Patricia Piccinini

Australia 1965

Installation, Sculpture

Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini
September 27, 2013
Art somehow explains a lot that's happening in the world right now. Feel free to contact me at

Art holds the power to shape the existing, but also to create new worlds. Vision and hand of a skillful master can design entire universe and inhabit them with the most extraordinary life. Patricia Piccinini is an Australian contemporary artist who creates the world that exists somewhere between the one we all know and the one that is almost upon us. Often with a terrifying appearance, her work is neither imagined as the nightmare future environmental ruin, nor the brave new world of errorless scientific process. Instead, she focuses on the internal, emotional lives of the every new creature that might emerge and begin its life, but also on the questions about the kinds of relationships that might come to light alongside them. These creatures are unsettling and strange, yet not threatening. When the first impression of terror passes, all that remains is their vulnerability, as they plead with us to look beyond their figures and accept them as they are.

Patricia Piccinini personal search in gallery exhibition was captured on video.
Patricia Piccinini – The Rookie, 2015 (Left) / The Osculating Curve, 2016 (Right) – image courtesy of Hosfelt Gallery

The Process

Piccinini’s art process always begins with a drawing, a medium best suited for developing ideas. When she feels that the initial idea is starting to become something worth making, thoughts about how it might be made are born. The medium tends to come as she starts to think about the best way to express a particular idea, whether that is photography, sculpture or a more resolved sort of drawing. Sometimes, there is some sort of materiality that she wants to work with – other times the focus is on how to best connect the viewers with ideas. Fabrication is the next step. Because of the nature of her art, almost everything is done in the studio, with the exception of automotive painting and foundry work. Since Piccinini is an artist but not a technician herself and therefore not particularly wedded to any of the processes, she works with a small team of amazing technicians. Together, they work from her ideas by employing a wide array of techniques that they have gotten very good at. Some of them are pretty much standard skills, while others have been developed by the team. Depending on what seems as the most appropriate and what works best, they can use traditional skills such as hand sculpted plasticine models, as well as computer-based techniques like CNC and 3D-printing.

Her work always begins with a drawing

Patricia Piccinini latest exhibition includes video works
Patricia Piccinini – Metaflora (Twin Rivers Mouth), 2015 (Left) / Metaflora (Twin Rivers Mouth) – detail, 2015 (Right) – image courtesy of Tolarno Galleries

Patricia Piccinini Biography

Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Piccinini moved to Australia in 1972. She received a BA in Economic History from Australian National University, Canberra, in 1988, and a BA Painting from Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, in 1991. At the beginnings of her career, she would spend a considerable amount of time in medical museums, making drawings of preserved specimens. These studies of aberrations of anatomy and pathologies influenced greatly her later work, especially in sculpture. Today, she is one of the most acclaimed artists in Australia, whose work and exhibitions are very popular. By using silicone, fiberglass, even human hair, the artist makes sculptures that appear familiar, yet hyperrealistic. Piccinini’s depictions of possible future species and their interaction with us, the human beings, serve as a brutal reminder that we can somewhat manipulate evolution and life, but we’re still far from being in control. Her search for information regarding the future involves creating seemingly dark arts and sculptures, which are in reality quite benevolent.

Patricia Piccinini lives and works in Melbourne.

Featured image: Patricia Piccinini with her life-like work – photo credits Simone De Peak, via

Patricia Piccinini's Skywhale Gets a Skywhalepapa in Canberra!

In May 2020, the artist Patricia Piccinini will launch a new balloon sculpture Skywhalepapa that is related to her Skywhale air piece made in 2013.

Read More
Patricia Piccinini's Thought-Provoking World at ARKEN

The Danish Museum of Modern Art ARKEN will host a solo exhibition of the Australian artist Patricia Piccinini, best known for her surreal sculptures.

Read More
The Most Important Hyperrealist Sculptures of the Past 50 Years at Kunsthal Rotterdam

Reviewing 50 years of Hyperrealism Sculptures, Kunsthal Rotterdam gathers 28 iconic artists who have been challenging our perception of the human body.

Read More
The Wildest Imaginary Creatures in Art

Drawn from mythology and folklore, imaginary creatures, from part-human hybrids to entirely fantastic beasts, have always captured the attention of artists.

Read More
10 Sydney Art Galleries you have to Visit

Explore the ten chosen Sydney art galleries and witness the innovations and trends of Australian and Aboriginal artists

Read More
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Established in Sydney in 1982, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery has a rich history of promoting and supporting contemporary art. Explore more here

Read More
Posthumanism and Contemporary Art

By re-defining the human race, posthumanism changes our perception of ourselves and the world. What is our posthuman future and how does art illustrate it?

Read More
Disturbing Art - The Ingenuity of the Disgusting

Bizarre Art! Shocking Art! Grotesque Art! Disturbing Art! Art comes in many shapes and forms, but these are some of the most disturbing art pieces ever made.

Read More