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View of “Francis Upritchard: Jealous Saboteurs,” 2016. Center: Mandrake, 2011. Photo: Mark Tantrum.

Francis Upritchard

City Gallery Wellington

View of “Francis Upritchard: Jealous Saboteurs,” 2016. Center: Mandrake, 2011. Photo: Mark Tantrum.

In Francis Upritchard’s survey “Jealous Saboteurs,” visitors encountered such characters as a Harlequin with a suspiciously amorous bulge in his diamond-patterned tights, his arms spread with a kind of “Hey, forget about it!” nonchalance (Mandrake, 2011); a putrid-yellow man standing in an archer’s pose with a semi-erection that pointed almost parallel to his extended arm (David [Robin], 2012); and a black woman with an elongated neck clutching one of her breasts (Hannah, 2016). These figurative sculptures were installed on pedestals created by Upritchard’s husband, designer Martino Gamper: elegant supports sliced through with diamonds. These harlequinesque resonances turned Mandrake’s tricksterish presence into a conceptual anchor for the exhibition, an embodiment of what the artist has described as her “slippery politics,” which manifested as a faux-museological hallucination

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