The Haunch of Venison is renowned for its support of internationally acclaimed artists working across a wide range of eclectic art forms. On her first UK solo exhibition, Patricia Piccinini displays her reality-meets-dreamlike sculpture inThose Who Dream By Night from 28th November 2012 to 12th January 2013. Her past exhibitions include the critically acclaimed RelativityWe Are Family and Hold Me Close To Your Heart. She has also had solo exhibitions in Australia, Spain, Peru, the United States and Japan.

Currently living in Australia, though born in Sierra Leone, Piccinini’s art world is a hypnotic examination of humankind’s relationship with technology. The artist aims to depict the modern day reliance upon science as a way to explain the complexities of what it means to be human. Juxtaposing these ideas with her fascination of biotechnology and gene therapy, Piccinini has created works that allow us to relate to the strange, fleshy sculptures that without this narrative cannot be easily explained.

Downstairs, with the regal shape and structure of a sphinx, a mound of skin and a glistening orifice is displayed on a bronze plinth. A combination of both revulsion and respect is demanded by this hybrid sculpture; its nudity evoking a sense of vulnerability. The Carrier, a life-sized fibreglass sculpture of an old lady being lifted by a naked half-animal, half-human male is the main focus of the upstairs gallery space. Like all of the sculptures, the figures are created with such astonishing realism that we are compelled to edge closer, examining every hair, every mole, every wrinkle on the skin. The workmanship by Piccinini and the fabricators who apply these effects with such scientific precision, lends itself to further the objective of the artist’s work. Both ugly yet oddly compelling, it is our ability to relate to these alien forms that is most disturbing.

Haunch of Venison at 103 New Bond Street is a cool but intimate space in which Piccinini’s work appeared at ease. Providing the freedom to see the sculptures and artwork from all aspects further coupled the peculiar relationship between the viewer as the human, and the art as technology.

Though Patricia Piccinini’s work may not be entirely to everyone’s taste, the works offer a chance to see art and technology collide in a truly original way. It is well worth a visit.

Verdict: ••••

Rosie Hillsdon

For further information about Patricia Piccinini visit her official website.

Those Who Dream By Night is exhibited at Haunch of Venison, New Bond Street, from 28th November 2012 to 12th January 2013.

Click on the following link to see some awesome pictures by Sarah Tsang: