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Call of the Wild: Patricia Piccinini

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


08 Aug 2002 to 29 Sep 2002

Curator: Rachel Kent

about the exhibition

Patricia Piccinini is an artist who explores the frontiers of science and technology through her sculptures, photographs and video environments. Since the early 1990s, Piccinini has pursued an interest in the human form and its potential for manipulation and enhancement through bio-technological intervention. From the mapping of the human genome to the growth of human tissue from stem cells, Piccinini’s art charts a terrain in which scientific progress and ethical questions are intertwined.

Ideas about nature and its simulation are central to Piccinini’s works, inviting us to question what is ‘real’ and what is not. Made with the aid of computer technology, they collapse reality and artifice, and propose that nature is as much a human invention as it is an empirical concept. Personal identity and the issues surrounding it lie at the core of Piccinini’s art. Her works invite the question: what is it that makes us who we are? If the body can be unmade and remade through technology, what implications does this have for our identity as human beings?

Call of the Wild presented a selection of key works by the artist that engaged with these and other related themes. Encompassing five years, from 1997 to 2002, the digital photographs, sculptures and video installations in this exhibition scrutinised the breakthroughs offered by contemporary technology, proposing outcomes that blurred the real and the imagined. The complex relationship between humanity, nature and technology was explored in individual works, their ambivalence towards their subject matter suggesting that basic concepts of right or wrong may be all too simple. In these works, the future did not seem so very far away: what we dare only imagine now may, in fact, be soon attainable.

This exhibition was made possible thorough the generous support of MCA Ambassadors.

Tour Itinerary

John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University, Perth, WA: 23 January – 6 April 2003