Aloft

by Patricia Piccinini ( 2010 )
 

Aloft consists of a huge cocoon-like nest made from felted human hair, which is suspended from a web that attaches to balustrades of the stair cases. The nest itself contains a small boy who looks over the side at the viewers as well as a collection of giant grubs. The work is, in essence, a gigantic infestation within the gallery space. It's materiality is somewhat grotesque and seems almost an affront to the tidy geometry of the space; messy, organic and fluid in the measured angularity of the gallery. However, while we marvel at it's ominous scale and strange beauty, we are called to question who is infesting who. The human sense of entitlement is so complete that we feel affronted whenever we find any other creature taking up residence within our homes. Yet we are ourselves inexorably infesting the habitats of every other creature on the planet with few cares for their welfare.

In Aloft the tables are turned, and that is the source of the uneasiness it elicits. However, there is no sign of any malice on the part of the grubs. There is a degree of optimism to be found in the reasonably comfortable relationship that we can see between the child and his odd companions. While the nest is a single element, the web is very much site-specific and responds to the space available, creating a giant multi-layered cobweb of human hair.