Patricia Piccinini / Australia b.1965 / The stags 2008 / Fibreglass, automotive paint, leather, steel, plastic, tyres / Two pieces: 177 x 183 x 102cm and 147 x 90 x 101cm; 196 x 224 x 167cm (installed, variable) / Purchased 2009 with funds from the Estate of Lawrence F. King in memory of the late Mr and Mrs S.W. King through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation and the Queensland Government’s Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Patricia Piccinini

Patricia Piccinini
The stags 2008

Not Currently on Display

The stags 2008 represents two motor scooters as living animals, a complete synthesis of nature and technology. It refers specifically to the customised Vespas ridden by mods in the 1960s, often embellished with a profusion of mirrors. Like customised vehicles, these scooters have taken on individual identities and are no longer factory-made ‘clones’. They are apparently alive and possibly even genetically unique. As Piccinini has said, ‘the point of crafting another life is so that you can talk about this one. . .’ Piccinini’s creations question what the outcome might be as humanity and technology become ever more entwined.

These two beasts could be fighting for a mate or perhaps a different form of bond is explored — love expressed as defence of the family against an intruder. The sculpture hints at the complexities that underlie the peculiarly masculine expenditure of energy on display.

The implausibility of these creatures is clear in their fragile antlers. Mirrors are better suited to grooming than to fighting and, as with the mods, this particular addition must be for display rather than any practical purpose.

Born in Sierra Leone, in West Africa, and raised in Italy and Australia, Patricia Piccinini has exhibited extensively around the world. She represented Australia at the 2003 Venice Biennale, created the inflatable sculpture Skywhale for the Centenary of Canberra in 2013, and drew over a million visitors to her touring exhibition in Brazil in 2016. Known for her imaginative, and incredibly lifelike, hybrid creatures, Piccinini uses sculpture, installation, video and sound to realise a fantastic and compassionate vision of the world, inspired by nature, science, art history and mythology.