Francis Upritchard

30 Apr - 20 Jun 2010

© Francis Upritchard
Francis Upritchard
installation view, Secession 2010
photo: Wolfgang Thaler
"In Die Höhle"

April 30 – June 20, 2010

Francis Upritchard creates sculptural installations in which human figures, painted in bright colours, inhabit a world replete with found objects and everyday items, modified to meet their needs. The inhabitants and their objects are shown on specially produced or found pieces of furniture. Paying as much attention to the furniture, to its careful refurbishment as to the figures themselves, her work gives equal weight to art, craft, and display: the design and staging within the exhibition space is an integral part of the work.

Upritchard suspends the usual attributions of value to specific materials and contexts; her figures, whose age, cultural origin and hierarchy is unclear, question the viewer's perceptions and preconceptions about worth. Her arrangements form artificial universes in which the figures embody the human condition in all its diversity – appearing introverted, cheerful, miserable, or uncomfortable. Upritchard cleverly perverts the usual view of products of human civilization by transforming everyday items from Western culture into instruments of cult ritual for fictitious archaic peoples, with badminton rackets as scepters and industrial imitations of Victorian vases as urns

For the Secession, Francis Upritchard is developing a new installation whose themes include the exhibition history of the institution as well as Hippie or New Age counter-cultures. With her installation IN DIE HÖHLE in the gallery space, Upritchard questions hegemonic attitudes of mainstream culture, and its definition, for example, of the ‘exotic’, or the differentiation between ‘critical’ and ‘decorative’.

By freely mixing up times and cultural references, Upritchard is interrogating the idea of popular art: Confronting banal notions of ‘culture’ with its counters and opposites, the tyranny of common-sense fragments to many possible readings and interpretations. It's all in together, lit by chandeliers modeled on the designs of Wiener Werkstätte - figures prised from their contexts (and sometimes from the grip of their original works, like Gustav Klimt’s Beethoven Frieze or Sol LeWitt's wall paintings), then loaned new stories: Maoris in Tartan, waiting for the End; imaginary members of the long-forgotten cult of a family member; sacred regalia rendered in spent cigarettes, Japanese and Indian traditions merged (as they have in the past) with Hippies; Cowboys hunting for the right hat; our beautiful dropouts and dregs, facing down the divine.

Francis Upritchard (*1976 in New Zealand) lives and works in London.

Solo shows (selection)
2009 Save Yourself, 53rd Venice Biennale, New Zealand representation, Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana; 2008 Rainwob II, Artspace Sydney and Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne; Rainwob I, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, New Zealand; 2007 Bogagnome, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; 2006 Francis Upritchard, Kate MacGarry, London; 2005 Francis Upritchard, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Solo project for Salon 94, New York; Francis Upritchard, The Bakery, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam; Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed, Artspace, Auckland, New Zealand; 2004 Artist in Residence, Camden Arts Centre, London; 2003 Francis Upritchard, Kate MacGarry, London; New Work, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; 2001 Ich Dien, Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; Untitled (Boxing arms), Rear View, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, New Zealand; 2000 Prince Charles, Antichrist, warehouse space, London.

Group shows (selection)
2009 Feierabend: Francis Upritchard, Martino Gamper, Karl Fritsch, Kate MacGarry, London; 2008 Free Radicals, Artnews Projects Berlin; Life is a Funny Old Dog, Tanja Pol Galerie, Munich; The Big Chill Festival, Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire; Dadadandy Boutique, Artprojx Space, London; The Institute of Psychoplasmics, Pump House Gallery, London; Martian Museum of Terrestrial Art, Barbican Art Gallery, London; 2007 The Crown Jewels, Salon 94 Freemans, New York; Of Deities and Mortals, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch, New Zealand; An Archaeology, 176 -Zabludovicz Collection, London; Reboot, The Jim and Mary Barr Collection, Christchurch Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu and City Gallery Wellington Re/ Trato, Travelling Gallery, Scotland; Metrosideros Robusta, Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim, Germany; Tiere II, Overbeckgesellschaft Lübeck, Germany; Effigies, Stuart Shave/ Modern Art; 2006 Six Feet Under – Autopsy of Our Relation to the Dead, Kunstmuseum Bern; Le Nouveau Siécle, Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam; The Walters Prize 2006, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand; Around The World In Eighty Days, South London Gallery; Pasifika Styles – Artists inside the museum, University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology; HIGH TIDE: new currents in art from Australia and New Zealand, Zaçheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw & CAC - Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania.

Tags: Martino Gamper, Gustav Klimt, Sol LeWitt, Rä di Martino, Francis Upritchard