Sandman
Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini’s newest installation, Sandman, speculates on the facts and mysteries of human evolution; the transformation from one state of being to another; the emotional turmoil of adolescence; car culture, romance and fate. The main protagonist of Sandman is an adolescent girl, introduced to us, quite literally, as the fish out of water. Her uniqueness is indicated by the branchial arches that she has retained, and that drive her on a solitary and ultimately ambiguous journey from the land to the sea. Branchial arches are comparable to the gills of fish, and develop in all human embryos. They connect us to the first fish that emerged from the sea and subsequently developed into land dwelling creatures. In human development branchial arches are fundamental to the final internal structures of the head and neck, but they usually recede before birth. Occasionally they remain and are surgically repaired in infants. The central sculpture in Sandman reproduces the front end of a panel van that has been transformed by an unknown entity and force, and now rests like the cocoon of a new creature. The panel van is unique to Australia and the culture of customising these vehicles through highly refined exterior painting and designed interiors has become an art form in itself. In Piccinini’s photographs the panel van – Xanadu – is represented as a creature in itself, and might hold for its passengers, like the song suggests, ‘ a dream that came through a million years’. The precise nature of the incidents in Sandman are not revealed – only alluded to. The outcome of human dramas is only implied through the film, the photographs and the other-worldly beauty of the teenage girl – all suggestive of a melancholic longing for another place, another time and another way of being.

 


28 Nov 200323 Feb 2003 The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square
Fashion and Textiles (Gallery 12), Level 2, NGVA
Fashion and Textiles (Gallery 12), Level 2, NGVA