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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Lucy McRae: Body Architect

The self-proclaimed 'body architect' fuses sci-fi and art in this survey of her boundary-pushing work.
By Libby Curran
August 30, 2019
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Lucy McRae: Body Architect

The self-proclaimed 'body architect' fuses sci-fi and art in this survey of her boundary-pushing work.
By Libby Curran
August 30, 2019
  shares

Ever pondered what the human body might be like a couple more decades into the future? What sort of weird and wonderful things it'll be able to do by the time next century rolls around? Award-winning Aussie-born, Los Angeles-based artist Lucy McRae sure has, and she's offering a peek at her most captivating musings in a new free exhibition at NGV Australia, titled Lucy McRae: Body Architect.

As a designer, science fiction artist, filmmaker and 'body architect', McRae's on a constant journey of contemplation, her work reflecting on the future of human existence through collaborations with everyone from scientists, to pop musicians. Kicking off today and running until February 2020, this survey of her work — which has strong The Fifth Element vibes — dives deep into these questions, showcasing a body of work that will not just pique the interest of art lovers, but sci-fi fans and philosophers, too.

For Lucy McRae: Body Architect, you'll see the artist's filmmaking skills at play in seminal work Institute of Isolation: an observational documentary exploring the concept of isolation and the impact it might have on people when experienced for decades at a time. It's questioned through the lens of space travel and how human resilience might be tweaked in order to better handle it.

Meanwhile, immersive work Future Day Spa will see you hanging out in a vacuum pressure chamber, which mimics the feeling of being hugged tightly, boosting relaxation levels in the process. You can also get your own face up on the gallery's walls — and tweak it — with Biometric Mirror.

Elsewhere, you'll spy the series of bold and ethereal digital images McRae created alongside Dutch textile artist Bart Hess. The pair's work imagines high-tech, futuristic body functionalities – like colour-excreting skin – captured in striking lo-fi imagery using things like pantyhose, balloons, grass and bath foam.

Then, there are the pieces from McRae's many collaborations with musicians, both local and international. The iconic image created for pop-star Robyn's Body Talk album cover is on show, as are the artist's music videos for bands including Architecture in Helsinki and Reptile Youth.

For a quick intro to her work, watch this TED Talk. As one of the youngest ever TED Fellows and having earned a spot on Fast Company's list of people shaping the future, McRae's an exciting pull for the NGV's next season of solo exhibitions, which is set to feature the work of Aussie photographers Polixeni Papapetrou and Petrina Hicks later this year.

Images: Installation shots by Tom Ross; Lucy McRae portraits by Eugene Hyland; © Lucy McRae. 

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