Patricia Piccinini was born in Sierra Leone and lives in Australia. Her work encompasses sculpture, photography, video and drawing and her practice examines the increasingly nebulous boundary between the artificial and the natural as it appears in contemporary culture and ideas. Her surreal drawings, hybrid animals and vehicular creatures question the way that contemporary technology and culture changes our understanding of what it means to be human and wonders at our relationships with – and responsibilities towards – that which we create. While ethics are central, her approach is ambiguous and questioning rather than moralistic and didactic.
In 2003 her exhibition We Are Family represented Australia at the 50th Venice Biennale before touring to the Hara Museum, Tokyo (JPN) and the Bendigo Art Gallery (AUS). Her solo museum survey exhibitions ComCiência at CCBB toured to São Paulo, Brasília, Rio De Janeiro and Belo Horizonte in Brazil and was named the most popular contemporary art exhibition in 2016 by The Art Newspaper. Other solo museum exhibitions include Curious Affection at QAGOMA in Brisbane, En Kaerlig Verden at Arken in Copenhagen, Relativity at the Galway International Art Festival, Hold Me Close To Your Heart at Arter Space For Art, Istanbul, Once Upon a Time, Art Gallery of South Australia, Relativity at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Evolution at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, (tiernas) Criaturas/(tender) Creatures at Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain), Hug: Recent Works by Patricia Piccinini at the Frye Museum, Seattle, and Des Moines Art Centre, Des Moines (USA), In Another Life at the Wellington City Gallery, Wellington (NZ), Call of the Wild at MCA, Sydney and Retrospectology at ACCA, Melbourne. Since The Shadows Calling at Detached (Hobart) in 2015, Patricia has installed a number of major exhibitions in non-traditional spaces including Curious Imaginings at the Patricia Hotel in Vancouver and A Miracle Constantly Repeated in the Flinders Street Station Ballroom in Melbourne on 2021. Patricia was also represented in the 2nd Asian Art Biennale (Taipei 2009), Bienal de La Habana (Cuba 2003), Sydney Biennale (Australia 2002), Liverpool Biennale (UK 2002), Berlin Biennale (Germany 2001) and Gwangju Biennale (Korea 2000). Her work has been included in included in The Coming World at Garage MCA, Moscow (Russia 2019), XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature, Milan, (Italy 2019), Melbourne Now at the NGV, Melbourne (Australia 2013), Medicine and Art and Future and the Arts at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (Japan 2009), Wonderland at KadE Amersfoot (Netherlands, 2009), Global Feminisms at the Brooklyn Museum, New York (USA 2007), Uneasy Nature at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro (USA 2006), Becoming Animal at MASS MoCA, North Adams (USA 2005) and Face Up at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (Germany 2003). In 2013 she was commissioned by the Centenary of Canberra to create The Skywhale, which was joined in 2020 by Skywhalepapa.
Patricia Piccinini received a BFA from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 1991. In 1994 she initiated The Basement Project Gallery in Melbourne, which she coordinated until 1996. She is represented by Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney. In 2014 she was awarded the Melbourne Art Foundation Visual Arts Award. In 2016 she was awarded a Doctor of Visual and Performing Arts (Honora Causa) from the Victorian College of the Arts and appointed as Enterprise Professor at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Her studio and home are on Wurundjeri country in Naarm (Melbourne), Australia.