Art Review: Patricia Piccinini @ Haunch of Venison

In April, we saw the scarily lifelike sculptures created by Ron Mueck and now Haunch of Venison presents us with an artist who is equally skilled in recreating hair and skin on her sculptures. However, Patricia Piccinini is more interested in creating new alien lifeforms that are crafted so convincingly, it’s as if they could exist.

It’s clear that Piccinini sees beauty in most things. What to us appears to be a mutated breast pumping out earwax is seen by the artist as “honey-like nectar pouring from an  amorphous organism”. This theme of beauty in what at first seems vile is continued in the adjacent video, which shows a woman vomiting a liquid that turns out to be the substance that her beautiful amber surroundings are made of. These works can also be interpreted as a swipe at those who criticise macabre and disturbing art, yet don’t grasp the deeper meaning within it.

The most eye-catching work is located upstairs. The carrier confronts viewers with a beastly creature with long claws and an overhanging stomach. Yet the old lady it’s carrying on its back seems completely at ease. This seeming contradiction is designed to make you think twice and revisit your initial thoughts on the creature.

Piccinini also looks at creating life out of inanimate objects such as tyres and scooters. The latter are used in a work where two twisted scooters nestle in a loving embrace. The ‘male’ is given antlers made out of wing mirrors and shoots a caring look down at his companion. The anthropomorphisation is done perfectly and it’s our favourite piece of the exhibition.

Piccinini is clearly a very talented sculptor and these evocative works in her first UK solo show suggest we can look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.

Patricia Piccinini‘s works are on display at Haunch of Venison, 103 New Bond Street, W1S 1ST until 12 January. Admission is free.

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