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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Small Things, 2012 by Sam Jinks
Small Things, 2012 by Sam Jinks

‘It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.’

Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, 1811

In experiencing intimacy the human mind wrestles with the impossible task of being as one with another. Sculptor Sam Jinks unites the textures of the human body and human emotion in these works addressing moments of intimacy. Jinks observed the ‘form and texture of frogs and frog-skin being very similar to babies and baby skin’ and formally arranged this vision of the touch in Small Things. In Untitled the two babies dance in untouching stillness, reflecting all the intimacies of human relationships that will be accepted, sought or abandoned through a life. Like the babies, the symmetry and almost-touch of Unsettled Dogs takes on an allegorical dimension: the dog-headed cynocephalus of ancient and medievalimagination reminding of the human capacity for destructive irrationality within intimate relationships.

3 portraits

1Untitled, 2012. 2Unsettled dogs, 2012. Both by Sam Jinks .

Related information

Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks
Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks
Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks
Divide, 2011 by Sam Jinks

In the flesh

Previous exhibition, 2014

In the flesh is an enthralling and immersive experience of contemporary art that confronts the concept of humanness and the experiences of consciousness and emotion. Featuring ten Australian artists including Jan Nelson, Patricia Piccinini, Ron Mueck and Michael Peck, the exhibition explores themes of intimacy, empathy, transience, transition, vulnerability, alienation, restlessness, reflection, mortality and acceptance.

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.