The Frieze Fair, the UK’s biggest art fair, is currently open in London. A lot of the coverage of this high profile event has focused on how the global financial crisis will impact high roller art sales. That’s not the channel I’m watching, but a recent article in the Guardian by Sarah Thorton had something more to offer.

Thorton interviewed several leading artists about money, art and how the market influences them. One is Francis Upritchard, an artist whose work I was not familiar with previously. Her comments resonated with me, something I find refreshing given how different her installation sculpture is to the kind of work I do. And wisdom in someone so young, well I can’t help but be impressed.

Young artists such as sculptor Francis Upritchard, 32, who will be representing New Zealand at the Venice Biennale next June, appreciates serious collectors who live with their art. Of collectors who keep their art in storage, she argues: “I’m sure it’s good to get the work out of the sun, but art needs to be used. It needs a thinking gaze. That is what makes it art, rather than just stuff.” Of collectors who acquire work as status symbols, she says: “I think they are wasting their money, because that is not what art is for. It’s a misinterpretation of its intent.”

And this:

What will happen if the art market follows the financial markets in a downward spin? Is the bubble about to burst? Upritchard, for one, is not worried. “I lived in a squat for six years,” she says. “If I had to downgrade my studio, it wouldn’t matter. I want to be an old lady making art. Perhaps I’ll be out of fashion at 50, but trendy at 80”.

About Uprtichard’s work, from the Saatchi Gallery site:

Francis Upritchard is a doctor of contemporary voodoo. Borrowing her aesthetic from the kinds of weird and wonderful mementos treasured in archives like the Pitt River Museum and the Wellcome Collection, Upritchard forges a dark and twisted history of her own…Upritchard’s a magpie Indiana Jones: inventing creepies and curses from stuff that probably exists in your attic.

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