25 Feb 2010
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Te Papa, in association with Creative New Zealand, presents New Zealand’s 2009 participation at the prestigious Venice Biennale. Judy Millar’s Giraffe-Bottle-Gun, curated by Leonhard Emmerling (St Paul Street Gallery, Auckland), and Francis Upritchard’s Save Yourself, curated by Heather Galbraith (City Gallery Wellington) and Francesco Manacorda (Barbican Art Gallery, London), will be displayed in the contemporary art section of Te Papa’s flagship art exhibition Toi Te Papa: Art of the Nation on Level 5. Admission is free.
‘We are delighted to have supported the staging of New Zealand at the Venice Biennale 2009 and to be able to present them during the New Zealand International Arts Festival,’ said Michelle Hippolite, Te Papa’s Acting Chief Executive and Kaihautū.
New Zealand at Venice Biennale 2009 will be officially launched with an invitation only function at Icon, Level 2, Te Papa on Thursday 25 February at 6pm. The artists and the exhibition’s curators will be present, and media are welcome to attend. Please contact Jane Keig to confirm attendance at the opening function.
In Venice, both artists’ projects responded directly to their sites, the ornate interiors, and the existing artworks that are characteristic of many Biennale venues. At Te Papa, the works will be viewed quite differently. They will transform, and be transformed by, their placement within the high stud Level 5 gallery spaces. Visitors will be able to get a sense of the exhibitions’ original installations by watching film footage taken of the works as they were installed in Venice.
Judy Millar’s Giraffe-Bottle-Gun features digitised and enlarged paintings stretched on shaped canvases. They fill the space, playing with scale and with the architecture. Francis Upritchard’s Save Yourself is an installation of figures placed on table tops that form surreal groupings of dancers, dreamers and searchers lost in their own reveries. The New Zealand exhibitions were visited by more than 114,000 people at the Biennale.
Te Papa has acquired parts of both Judy Millar and Francis Upritchard’s 2009 Venice Biennale projects. Two works presented at previous Biennales are held in Te Papa’s collection: Jacqueline Fraser’s 2001 A Demure Portrait of the Artist Strip Searched, and Michael Stevenson’s 2003 This is the Trekka.
About the artists
Born in Auckland in 1957, Judy Millar studied at the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts, graduating with a BFA in 1980 and an MFA in 1983.
In 1990 Millar gained an Italian Government Scholarship and spent a year in Turin researching the work of Italian artists from the 1960s and 1970s. Since 1998, Judy Millar has lectured in painting at Elam School of Fine Arts. In 2002, she won the Wallace Art Award, and in late 2009 was awarded the International Studio and Curatorial Programme Residency in New York.
Judy Millar is represented by Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland; Hamish Morrison Galerie, Berlin; and Galerie Mark Müller, Zürich.
Francis Upritchard was born in New Plymouth in 1976. She graduated from Canterbury University's Ilam School of Fine Arts in 1997. In 2003, Upritchard was included in the high profile Becks Futures exhibition in London.
In 2006, Upritchard was the winner of the Walters Prize, New Zealand's most prestigious contemporary art prize. In 2007–08 she was the New Zealand Artist in Residence at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, and followed that with a residency at Artspace, Sydney.
Francis Upritchard is represented by Ivan Anthony Gallery, Auckland; and Kate MacGarry, London.
About the Biennale
The Venice Biennale was established in 1895 and is now recognised as the oldest, longest-running cultural event of its kind, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to each event. Although there are now many other large-scale recurrent exhibitions, none compare to the Venice Biennale in terms of international networking and promotional opportunities.
The 2009 Venice Biennale attracted a record number of 77 national pavilions with a total of 375,000 visitors to the paid exhibitions (Arsenale and Giardini), and an average daily visitor number of 2,223. During the 24 weeks of its running time, the 53rd Biennale was constantly at the top of the rankings of the most‐visited exhibitions in Italy.
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