A ‘tourist of photography’
In The shaman (blue), Gavin Hipkins transforms an everyday object into something like a fetish – an object of obsession or devotion. He gives the object – perhaps a fur decoration from a winter jacket – an odd, surreal quality by greatly enlarging it against a blue background.
The work echoes the way that advertising photography gives ordinary objects a greater presence and makes them more desirable. It is one example of how Hipkins draws on many photographic styles and traditions, prompting critics to describe him as a ‘tourist of photography’.
This text was prepared for the Collecting Contemporary exhibition, February 2012.