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Sculpture (MA)

Mary Pedicini

Impossible Institute for Decentering Humanity, media item 1
Responses, media item 1
Equipment, media item 1
Equipment, media item 2

The scientists have left a mysterious machine on a stool near the isolation chamber. Does it take readings, or make changes? Does it sense things that we cannot without it, or transmit signals we cannot send with our biology?

Telling Stories from the End of the World, media item 1
Launch Project
Eerie, media item 1

Mary Pedicini is an American sculptor based in London. The core of her work is with storytelling, and her practice is research-led. She employs scale shifts and deep-time thinking to question the implicit and explicit stories we tell about ourselves and our environment, through present past and future, often disrupting them by centering new perspectives. How does the Greek myth of Sisyphus change if erosion is introduced? What lessons can we learn from the practices of non-human species? 

Pedicini received her BA in 2019 from Dartmouth College and her MA in 2022 from the Royal College of Art. Her work has been shown in group exhibitions at Abigail Ogilvy in Boston, US, Meisyakan Gallery, Ningbo, China, and Standpoint Gallery and the Freud Museum in London, UK, among others. She has had solo shows in the Barrows Rotunda at the Hopkins Center for the Arts in Hanover, US, and Shelter in Place Gallery in Boston, US. In 2020 she was the recipient of Dartmouth’s James B. Reynolds Scholarship for Foreign Study.

Show Location: Battersea campus: Studio Building, First floor

Mary Pedicini-statement

At the core of my practice is an interest in communication [storytelling, understanding of others] and its limits and failures [secrets, not-knowing, concealed answers, impossibility]. I try to unpick the differences between visual and lexical communication – what can images do that words cannot, and vice versa? Painting a beautiful landscape is not the same as offering the words “a beautiful landscape”, which leaves space for an imaginative viewer to complete the vision. What do you see - rolling hills? The ocean at night? A snowy plain? This distance between word and thing is critical to my work.

The impossible and the unknown feed my imagination. Through my practice I have imagined what it might be like to be another person (real or fictional), or an object, or a natural force, or an extra-terrestrial. I find “alien-ness” a rich site for stretching the imagination. The scale of the unknown is so vast, the possibilities so endless, that most questions in relation to these beings are functionally impossible to answer. I find myself drawn to staying with the possibilities. With impossible-to-answer-questions, this is often the most productive thing to do: not searching for answers, but existing within a network of mutually incompatible options. I’m attracted to the half-finished, the unseen, the thing with potential. 

The institute is a fruitful fiction. it is a place to play with different ways of getting close to the impossible without the constraints of modern reality. Machines declaring purposes that cannot be fulfilled, boxes purporting to contain inaccessible treasure: these to me become substrates from which thought, imagination, and meaning can grow.