by Patricia Piccinini (2011)
Mostly in my work I try to imagine what could be or might be, but isn’t. In doing this I am often struck by how restrained my own inventions are, when compared to the truly bizarre creatures that actually do exist. Within nature there are beings so strange that they would be difficult to accept if they were not actually real. The Blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus) is one such miraculous aquatic creature. It lives in the deep seas south of Australia, and was relatively unknown to science until deep-sea fishing boats started pulling them up in the 1980s, victims of collateral damage resulting from crab trawling. In the short time since then they have been driven to the brink of extinction. Not deliberately, not because we wanted something from them, but basically by accident. I find it hard to imagine a ‘save the blobfish’ campaign. It is a marvellously uncharismatic creature, even its name is discouraging. It is certainly no Panda or Mountain Gorilla. However, despite all that, to me the blobfish is extraordinary. Its gelatenousl body is almost the same density as sea water, making it perfectly adapted to the immense pressure of its bathic home. This sculpture is a celebration of the simple, gormless, wonderful existence of the blobfish. It is a eulogy for this particular specimen, supported in death by a very ordinary looking man. Perhaps he is one of the millions of ordinary people who neither know nor care much about the fate of the blobfish. Even so he seems genuinely moved by the fate of this unprepossessing fish. There is hope in that.