Francis Upritchard. Francis Upritchard, homage to Gina Thusek Klaber, 2017
Born in New Zealand, Francis Upritchard (New Plymouth, 1976) moved to London after graduating from the School of Fine Arts of Canterbury University. She still lives and works in London. Focusing on sculpture, her artistic output involves a wide range of materials, including clay, cloth, glass and especially balata, a substance similar to natural rubber, produced from the milky sap of certain trees native mostly to Brazil. Her early works focused on representations of animals; in 2007, she began to depict humans, creating series of small figures, whose gestus, dress and jewelry reference different epochs and cultures.
For her work on the Passer Promenade, Upritchard acquainted herself with the life of a like-minded cosmopolitan, who also used the human figure as the key subject of her work: the artist and sculptor Gina Thusek Klaber (Rýmařov/Römerstadt, 1900 – Meran/Merano, 1983). After studying in Vienna, Florence and Milan, Thusek Klaber frequently stayed in London. Her permanent move to Meran was no decision of her own free will: It was imposed on her after she was stripped of her citizenship in 1939 and became a stateless person because of her Jewish roots.
Upritchard deliberately avoided any kind of naturalistic representation. Instead, her artwork seems to reflect upon the “sculptural practice” itself. With its unfinished appearance, the absence of a face, and a necklace as central element of adornment, the sculpture reminds us of examples from ancient times.