Gavin Hipkins

Block Painting XXV
1000 x 1000 mm
unique state archival pigment print
Courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett,
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Estimate: NZD 8,000 — 10,000

Bidding has closed - thank you!

"Block Painting XXV is part of a series that was first realised in 2015. The work in the current show is from 2016. Just after the completion of my first feature film Erewhon (2014), I retreated back into the studio as the film required extensive travel and I somehow wanted to break that thread. I started to call upon the notion of what I called ‘humble objects’. These ideas relate back to the still life photography I made through the 90s, which was also based on finding domestic objects, then isolating them and enlarging the objects photographically.

The result of those images talked to the legacies of modernist and commercial photography. With the Block Paintings, rather than just presenting the object, the studio-based process provided a way of interfering with objects. I took up the paintbrush and literally started painting children's wooden toy blocks. The idea came about from buying one bag of handcrafted wooden blocks that I found at a garage sale and looking closely at the irregularities within those. I would then go to toy shops and buy unpainted mass produced blocks. I was interested in altering them, and using the objects as sculptural basic shapes — painting them as a way to explore this space in-between as well as across sculpture, painting and photography. This playful exploration would speak to the power of monumentalisation that photography can have." - Gavin Hipkins

Artist Biography & History
with Artspace Aotearoa:


Folklore: The New Zealanders (group), 8 July — 1 August 1998, subsequently toured to Sarjeant Gallery, Wanganui 10 October — 22 November 1998


The Habitat (solo), 8 March — 1 April 2000, subsequently toured to Adam Art Gallery, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, 13 May — 11 June 2000

The Tunnel (solo), 2 October — 31 October 1997


The Habitat was co-published with Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi in 2000 on the occasion of Gipkin’s solo exhibition of the same name. Edited by Robert Leonard and Kelly Carmichael, the catalogue features a text by Paul Walker alongside photographic documentation of the exhibition. A catalogue to accompany Folklore: The New Zealanders was co-published with Sarjeant Gallery in 1998.

Gavin Hipkins


Over the past three decades, Gavin Hipkins has developed a practice in photography and moving image that frequently returns to the intersections of modernism and the post/ colonial nation-state by repurposing images and texts. His work addresses the histories of his chosen media as well as the ways in which images have shaped the contemporary world as transmitters and visual manifestations of ideology.

Hipkins received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Elam School of Fine Arts, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in 1992 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver in 2002. An extensive survey of his practice, Gavin Hipkins: The Domain, was exhibited at The Dowse Art Museum in 2017. He has exhibited extensively both internationally and in Aotearoa New Zealand. Hipkins represented Aotearoa New Zealand at the 2018 Asia Pacific Triennial, the 2002 Sao Paolo Biennale and the 1998 Biennale of Sydney. In 2006 he undertook a residency at the ISCP in New York and in 1998 he was selected as the inaugural Aotearoa New Zealand resident at Artspace Sydney. Hipkins’ first feature film Erewhon – based on Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel Erewhon, Or Over the Range – premiered in 2014 at the New Zealand International Film Festival and Edinburgh Art Festival. Gavin Hipkins is represented by Michael Lett, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.