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HOPE, Patricia Piccinini, Tai Kwun

Patricia Piccinini: HOPE

24 May 2023 - 3 September 2023

$60 – $70


Tai Kwun Contemporary is excited to announce HOPE — a large-scale summer exhibition of the sculptures, paintings and moving image works by the renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini from 24 May to 3 September.

Best known for her hyper-realistic sculptures whose human scale and touchingly expressive features belie their non-human limbs, fins, wings and scales — cute, intriguing, grotesque — Piccinini’s vision explores the unexpected consequences of tampering with nature. Featuring more than 50 fascinatingly detailed and highly imaginative works across different media, including paintings and moving images in addition to her distinctive sculptural works, HOPE offers visitors an engrossing, perplexing and deeply touching view of a fantastical imaginary world, yet one with which we identify naturally and instinctively.

Piccinini has been featured in many highly successful exhibitions around the world, including a pavilion presentation at the Venice Biennale in 2003. While her work raises questions about scientific progress and mankind’s destructive power over nature, a resilient optimism shines through as the scale and expressiveness of her works speak of tenderness, care and empathy.

HOPE is Patricia Piccinini’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong and encompasses all of the gallery spaces of JC Contemporary. Among the largest works in the show is Celestial Fields — a vast immersive installation comprising 4,500 individual flower stems sprouting both upwards from the floor and downwards from the ceiling, drawing the visitor into its embrace where it poses questions on the nature of progress. Elsewhere, Piccinini responds to the signature spiral staircase of JC Contemporary with a 20-metre-high installation of multi-coloured wigs spun together and suspended down the void from the ceiling of the top floor.

Ultimately, much of Patricia Piccinini’s work explores the notion of interdependence: the interdependence between humans and artificial objects — such as shoes, cradles, chairs — or the interdependence between humans and other creatures. The artist is fascinated by what she calls “artificial nature”: she imagines awe-inspiring and somewhat unsettling mixtures of creatures, where humans may be combined with living beings concocted in the imagination — or in the laboratory. These “chimeras” fundamentally ask questions about how technological advances are opening new horizons, given that humanity appears to be on the cusp of being able to design and create new forms of life and new forms of living-mechanical hybrids. For the artist, this prospect triggers both hope and anxiety about the nature of progress; at the same time, the artist imagines how living with such creatures will demand love, care, and empathy — the same love and care that humanity is morally compelled to show to other living creatures we share the planet with. Visitors to HOPE will therefore not only experience the artist’s spectacular vision but will also be invited to delve more deeply into broader questions about progress, science and technology, as well as the ethics of care.

Over the course of the exhibition, Tai Kwun Contemporary will also be hosting a wide range of public programming and educational events that dive into the deeper themes raised by Piccinini’s works, including her references to classical Greek mythology and art historical iconography, as well as broader ethical questions about science, progress, and ethics.

These include Tai Kwun Conversations: HOPE — A Dialogue between Patricia Piccinini and Tobias Berger; a series of film screenings chosen by the artist in Patricia Piccinini’s Choice; Workshop: Making of HOPE — Patricia Piccinini; Teacher’s Morning and Teacher’s Workshop; curator’s tours and other guided public tours. Of particular interest to families with children will be the Family Day events held throughout the run of the exhibition. Finally, Patricia Piccinini After Hours will be offering intimate conversations with special guests and speakers, who will chat about topics such as ethics and morality in biotech and genetics, climate crisis and extinction, and human creations of life.

HOPE will also present a small number of artist editions and merchandise in the Tai Kwun Contemporary kiosk in the gallery reception area.


Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa in 1965, Patricia Piccinini grew up mainly in Australia, where her family moved in 1972. At the beginning of her artistic career, she spent a substantial amount of time in medical museums, making drawings of preserved specimens. Indeed, her works usually begin with her drawings, which then are translated by the artist and her team of technicians into three-dimensional objects. Since the 1990s, Piccinini’s work has combined the cute and the grotesque, spurring viewers to overcome a sense of revulsion and to see the beauty of all forms, however unsettling, deformed, or artificial. In 2003, Piccinini represented Australia at the Venice Biennale, and since then she has had numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world.


24 May 2023
3 September 2023
$60 – $70
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