Francis Upritchard

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Francis Upritchard
Born 1976
New Plymouth, New Zealand

Francis Upritchard (born 1976) is a New Zealand born artist living in London. Upritchard and Judy Millar, represented New Zealand at the 2009 Venice Biennale.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Francis Upritchard was born in 1976 in New Plymouth, New Zealand. She graduated from the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts[2] in 1998. That same year she moved to the UK where she lives and works.[3][4]

In December 2001, the Bart Wells Institute was established by Luke Gottelier and Francis Upritchard in a large East London squat. The Bart Wells Institute ran for about two years and exhibitions were curated by artists including Sam Basu, Brian Griffiths, David Thorpe and Harry Pye.[5]

Upritchard was short-listed for the Becks Futures prize for an installation exhibition from 2003 entitled Save Yourself. A small mummy surrounded by funerary urns lay on the gallery floor vibrating and moaning. A packet of cigarettes tucked into its bandages, and a single glass eye was visible.

In 2005 Upritchard had simultaneous shows in the Andrea Rosen Gallery and Salon 94. The sculpture Torcello, Balata Figures and a selection of found objects were arranged over two large plinths. Sculptures of sloths, monkeys, orrerys and rocks. In 2005 she also won New Zealand's Walters Prize for art,[6] after being shortlisted for her Artspace show 'Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed' in 2005.[7][8]

It was announced in 2008[9][10] that Upritchard, along with Judy Millar, would be New Zealand's representatives at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Upritchard's installation was entitled Save Yourself. This was Upritchard's first major international sculpture installation. Spread across three rooms in Fondazione Claudio Buziol Palazzo, three over-sized tables displayed the works Long, Lonely, and Dancers, with a melange of references to psychedelic culture, hippies, Pieter Bruegel the elder, and Erasmus Grasser. "I want to create a visionary landscape, which refers to the hallucinatory works of the medieval painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel, and simultaneously draws on the utopian rhetoric of post-sixties counterculture, high modernist futurism and the warped dreams of survivalists, millenarians and social exiles." Francis Upritchard.[11][12] Both Upritchard's and Millar's works were exhibited back in Wellington, at Te Papa Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in March 2010, and 'Dancers,'[13] from 'Save yourself' was bought by the museum for its collections.[14]

In the 2009 show Feierabend at Kate Macgarry, Upritchard exhibited with Karl Fritsch (jeweller), now resident in Island Bay, Wellington,[15] and Italian furniture designer Martino Gamper,[16] now resident in London. The show blended craft, design and the fine arts in a seamless way, to a point where the viewer became unsure of the authorship of each work. Gesumptkunsthandwerk at the Govett Brewster in the show 'Stealing the Senses' was a further exploration of this collaboration. The show was shown again later[17] in Wellington. This show included ceramics and bronzes made together by Fritsch, Gamper, and Upritchard, alongside sculptures and lamps by Upritchard, rings and ornaments by Fritch, furniture and ceramic bowls by Gamper.[18]

Upritchard's first solo museum show in 2009 in Europe was at the Vienna Secession called In die Höhle (into the Cave). The show included works combining furniture and figurative sculptures referencing Sol LeWitt, Gustav Klimt, Beethoven Frieze and Weiner Werkstatte.[19] Her second, at Nottingham Contemporary in 2012 was called 'A Hand of Cards.'[20] She was interviewed about her studio practice by The Independent at the time[21] Also in 2012, she exhibited at the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, a show called, 'A Long Wait.'[22] In 2013 Upritchard's show 'Potato Poem'[23] was shown in MIMOCA museum, Marugame, Japan. Currently she is exhibiting at the Hammer Museum, UCLA University of California, Los Angeles[24]

Francis Upritchard is represented in the US by Anton Kern Gallery, in the UK by Kate Macgarry and in New Zealand by Ivan Anthony Gallery.


In 2004, Nieves published a small artist book of Upritchard's 'Heads of Yesteryear' which consisted of 19 drawings of Pakeha severed heads in black and white photocopy, which had a British flag as a cover. The edition was 100 copies.[25]

Human Problems, designed by James Goggin (Practice) was co-published by Kate Macgarry and Veenmen. It included a short piece of commissioned fiction by Hari Kunzru about an anthropologist who becomes increasingly deranged in an unspecified village.

Doomed, Doomed, All Doomed was designed by James Goggin (Practice) and was published by Artspace. The booklet includes an essay 'Seventeen reduced Propositions For Francis Upritchard' by JJ King and Mathew Hyland and accompanied Upritchard's solo show at Artspace, Auckland in 2005.

Dent-de-Leone is a small independent publishing house based in London which Upritchard joined in 2008 when she collaborated with Abake on her artist's book Every Colour By Itself.[26] After editing the book Bart Wells Institute with Luke Gottelier, she joined the publishers as a member.[27] Two titles are solely credited to her, and a further two are collaborative works.[28]

The book Save Yourself was published in 2009 to coincide with Upritchard's participation in the Venice Biennale. It includes essays by Heather Galbraith, Francesco Manacorda, and Melanie Oliver. It was designed by Kalee Jackson and published by the Govett Brewster.[29]

In 2010, the 70 copy first edition of the In die Höhle (into the Cave) was co-published with Secession. This artist's edition includes images of Upritchard's sculptures from her solo show at the Vienna Secession, and a specially commissioned short story of a man who journeys to a strange island by David Mitchell (author). The second edition was co-published between Secession and Koenig Books and included a reworked version of the first edition with additional photos of the Secession Installation.


External links[edit]


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