Patricia Piccinini’s paradox: The Carrier


Patricia Piccinini’s The Carrier 2012 is both provocative and thoughtful, the artwork hints at what is possible from the creatures we may want to create in the not-too-distant future, making us focus our attention on what may lay ahead for us – is this relationship between humanoid and human how we will care for our ageing population?

The carrier himself is a muscular male, strong and powerful with bright eyes and bear traits in his nose, tail and claws, he is balding, with age spots, yet his bear-like physique is able to lift the frail woman behind him with ease.

Conservator Catherine Collyer condition reporting The Carrier in preparation for the exhibition opening of ‘Patricia Piccinini: Curious Affection’.

Patricia Piccinini, Australia b.1965 / The Carrier 2012 / Silicone, fibreglass, human hair, animal fur / ed. 1/1 + 1 AP / 170 x 115 x 75cm / Lyon Collection, Lyon Housemuseum, Melbourne / © The artist

It seems the carrier and woman are connected in some way, physically but also emotionally, therein lies the conflict. Perched up high, she looks comfortable and content to rely on his assistance, yet what is their relationship, why is he carrying her, is it an equal partnership, or is he just performing a service? We can wonder if the carrier is the next step in post-human technology, his life seems perfectly engineered to the task he performs, and it is feasible that he is happily self-employed.

Delve into Patricia Piccinini’s unique take on our future and decide for yourself before ‘Curious Affection‘ closes on Sunday 5 August.

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