Patricia Piccinini is well-known for her vivid hybrid creatures, almost-real beings crafted with such attention to detail you can pick out each individual hair follicle. Her hyper-realistic silicone sculpture The Young Family, for example, which was created for the Venice Biennale in 2003, depicts a naked half-dog half-human hybrid, with long ears and human-like hands and feet, reclining as her puppies feed, the creatures so life-like you can almost see them breathing. But Piccinini’s art is just as notable for the emotions it provokes, be they discomfort, empathy or – as the title of her new exhibition at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art puts it – “Curious Affection”.

When we speak, the artist has just come from dealing with a “production crisis” in the studio – which sounds ominous given the creatures she creates – but she’s relaxed on the phone. “There’s always something,” she brushes it off. “That’s OK,...

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