Helen Pynor’s practise explores philosophically and experientially ambiguous zones, such as the life-death boundary and the inter-subjective nature of organ transplantation. Her practice has long been engaged with ontologies of life, drawing on her dual backgrounds in the biological sciences and the visual arts. Pynor engages directly with the materiality of human and non-human bodies through her work with fresh and sometimes living organs, cells and tissues, and through the mediums of photography, sculpture, video and installation.
Pynor’s work is frequently developed during in-depth residencies in scientific and clinical institutions, most recently The Francis Crick Institute, London, The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, and The Heart and Lung Transplant Unit, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. She also collaborates with members of the broader community whose embodied experiences connect with the themes of her work.
Pynor holds a Bachelor of Science (1st Class Hons) (Macquarie University), a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney), and a cross-disciplinary PhD (Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney) that drew together her dual backgrounds.
Pynor has exhibited widely nationally and internationally including at The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts; The National Centre for Contemporary Art, Russia; FACT – Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool UK; Science Gallery Dublin; Science Gallery London; The Australian Centre for Photography; Performance Space, Sydney; Wellcome Collection, London; Galerija Kapelica, Ljubljana; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; The Old Operating Theatre, London; Ars Electronica, Linz; Powerhouse Museum, Sydney; ISEA – International Symposium of Electronic Art, Sydney; and Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.
In 2012 Pynor received an Honorary Mention at the internationally prestigious Prix Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria for her collaborative work with Peta Clancy The Body is a Big Place, exploring organ transplantation, and she has received national awards in Australia including The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award and the RBS Emerging Artist Award.
Pynor lives and works in Sydney and London.
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