Early in his career, New Zealand artist Gavin Hipkins was described by fellow artist Giovanni Intra as a ‘tourist of photography’. This epithet has been used repeatedly by commentators on Hipkins' work to describe two intertwined aspects of his practice. As art historian Peter Brunt puts it, Hipkins is a constantly travelling photographer, ‘an iconographer of desire, travel, time and … modern communities’, and a tourist within the medium, ‘a great manipulator of the photographic artifact itself’.
Gavin Hipkins (born 1968, Auckland) holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia. He is currently Associate Professor at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland. Hipkins has exhibited extensively in solo and group shows throughout New Zealand and internationally: Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT 9), Brisbane (2018); International Film Festival Rotterdam (2018, 2015); Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (International Competition), Germany (2017, 2016); Uppsala International Short Film Festival, Sweden (2017); The Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Museum of Arts and Design, New York (2014); Edinburgh Art Festival (2014); Armoury Film, The Armoury Show, New York (2012); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Austrian Museum of Applied Art and Contemporary Art (MAK), Vienna (2011); Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2010); San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego (2007); International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York (2006); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2004); CCA Watts Institute for Contemporary Arts, California (2002); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2000); Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, Guanine d’ Alba, Italy, (2000).
He represented New Zealand at the 1998 Sydney Biennale and the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennale. He was the recipient of the inaugural residency for New Zealand artists at Artspace Sydney, in 1998. In 2006 he completed an artist’s residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York. His work is included in major public and private collections including the Queensland Art Gallery, the Auckland Art Gallery, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, and George Eastman Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York.