My name is Francis Upritchard, and I’m here in Venice representing New Zealand. I’m a sculptor. The pavilion’s at the Fondazione Claudio Buziol near the Rialto Bridge. It’s a beautiful palazzo. It’s neoclassical, and it’s a first floor with a balcony looking out onto t he Grand Canal. This show is called Save Yourself, and it’s three rooms, and each room has got a large table, and each table has either one or some figures on it. It’s been lovely working for the Biennale, having a long time to work. I’ve been working on this project for a year and a half, and for almost a year I’ve known which space I’d be in, so it was really nice to really concentrate on that. At first it’s quite scary not working with white walls, and you can’t put a big white plinth in a place like this. So that was my big challenge with this, was making something beautiful that would be sympathetic with the palazzo but not try to be part of the palazzo either. In the past I’ve done a lot more things with animals and other objects, but for the last three years I’ve been really concentrating on figures. There’s a lot of very good figurative painting around, and I don’t think so much good figurative contemporary sculpture, so I really, with these figures, wanted to push how a figurative sculpture looks; and I wanted them to look futuristic, so instead of painting them any sensible colours, I just try and paint them a very new and strong, usually a single colour. Mostly I work on quite a small scale, because I like to work with my hands by myself in the studio. I don’t like anything to cast, or anything too big and unwieldy, and I’m not particularly strong, so I don’t do really massive things. And I usually use… I try to use materials that are really not toxic, and things that I can almost, not do at home, but on a scale that’s really human. I work very intuitively and I don’t like to think too much before I make sculptures. I like to make things and then think about it afterwards and develop a big body of work like these figures, and then when I’m halfway through, start wondering what they mean. Making things by hand, and making things alone in the studio without lots of assistants and things – and it really helps you work quickly and intuitively and just process with your body, in a way, rather than your mind. There is certainly a hippy element to this work. I grew up with a lot of hippy people, and to me these are like holy fools. Figures everywhere in churches and on buildings everywhere, and I think they are very meaningful. And I’ve tried to make these figures totally bereft, that they’ve got no purpose and no life. I think they are very… they are like shells, husks. Even though I’d call these works bereft, and like shells, they often do relate to people. One of them is called Richards, because everyone said it looks like Richard Woodworth. I don’t really relate to them as like you do with a toy, like in a loving way. They are sculptures, and to me they are very serious, and they sit quite apart from me emotionally.