Patricia Piccinini. Another Life

Curator: Joan Fontcuberta

Artist: Patricia Piccinini

September 1, 2015 - October 9, 2015

Opening: September 11, 2015, 7:00 pm

Le Mois de la photo à Montréal presents, in partnership with the Galerie de l’UQAM Another Life, the first solo show of artist Patricia Piccinini in Canada. In keeping with the theme of this 14th edition of the International Biennial of the Contemporary Image, The Post-Photographic Condition, the exhibition Another Life takes an intriguing and ambivalent look at the relationships between species in a context of genetic tinkering. Through photography, video and sculpture, Piccinini creates a world where humans, animals and monsters coexist and even help each other. 

The opening will take place Friday, September 11 at 7 p.m., with the artist and Joan Fontcuberta, guest curator of the exhibition and of the Mois de la Photo 2015, in attendance.

The exhibition

On a planet that has been invaded, not by aliens but by images, Patricia Piccinini questions our future as humans. And in doing so, she avoids the monstrous image to concentrate on the image of the monster: monstrum, monstrare. The monster is revealed.

Piccinini parodies monstrosity and demonstrativeness as a kind of apocalyptic precursor. In her surprising and captivating universe, forms drawn from biology and aesthetics swing between Frankenstein and Walt Disney, Pixar and H. R. Giger, and The Island of Dr. Moreau and Dolly the sheep. In the artist’s native Australia, the fauna has evolved endogenously to produce species not found anywhere else in the world. How long will these animals survive if their environments are threatened? As if on a rescue mission, Piccinini has conjured up a new species whose role is to protect endangered creatures. This gesture reminds us that life increasingly pushes the boundaries of nature, resulting in implants, in vitro fertilization, cloning, biotechnology, mutations – in short, genetic tinkering.

Another Life conveys a sense of fascination and horror of the monstrous when it permeates everyday life, as an embodiment of the Freudian uncanny. If human beings are animals that know how and are able to smile, as George Steiner stated, what does post-humanity have in store for us? Will we be able to reject the new barbarism? In all likelihood, we will be capable of doing so only by opting to humanize technology, rather than technologize people.

The artist

Patricia Piccinini was born in 1965 in Freetown, Sierra Leone; she lives and works in Melbourne. Her works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions at the Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne (2015), the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Melbourne (2014), the National Portrait Gallery of Australia in Canberra (2014), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney (2014), the Canberra Museum and Gallery (2013), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei (2013), the Haunch of Venison in London (2012), the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2011), the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College in Chicago (2011), the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2010), the Frye Museum in Seattle (2007), and the Venice Biennale (2003). Her works are included in many public collections in Australia, including those of the National Gallery of Australia, the University of Melbourne, the Waverly City Gallery, and the Parliament House. In 2014, she received the Artist Award from the Melbourne Art Foundation. She is represented by Tolarno Galleries in Melbourne and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney.
Interview with the artist

The curator

Over almost four decades of prolific dedication to photography, Joan Fontcuberta (born in Barcelona in 1955) has developed an artistic and theoretical practice, which focuses on the conflicts between nature, technology and truth. He has written a dozen books about aspects of the history, aesthetics and epistemology of photography. He has curated international exhibitions, including Fotografia 2.0 (Círculo de Bellas Artes, PhotoEspaña, Madrid, 2014), Artwork as Collection (FotoColectania, Barcelona, 2013), From Here On (Les Rencontres d’Arles, 2011), Idas & Chaos. Trends in Spanish Photography 1920-1945 (International Center of Photography, New York, 1987). In 1982, he co-founded the biennial photography festival Primavera Fotográfica in Barcelona, and in 1996 he was appointed artistic director of the Arles Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie. Since 2008, he has been president of the Visual Artists Association in Catalonia. He has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Chicago Art Institute, among others, and his works are featured in a number of institutional collections, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and the Centre Georges- Pompidou in Paris. In 2013, he received the Hasselblad Foundation Award.

Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, 14th edition – The Post-Photographic Condition

For its 14th edition, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal explores The Post-Photographic Condition, a theme conceived by Catalan guest curator Joan Fontcuberta. The post-photographic era is characterized by the massification of images and by their circulation and availability online. Digital technology not only provokes ontological gractures in photography, but also engenders prodounf changes in its social and functional values. Deployed in 16 exhibition sites, the biennal will feature the works of 29 Canadian and international artists who critically react to this massive presence of images and their unlimited access in our current visual culture.

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