b. 1987, New Zealand

Christopher Ulutupu Biography

Christopher Ulutupu is a contemporary New Zealand artist of Samoan, Niuean, and German descent, whose films and performance-based works address diaspora and the effects of colonial narratives.

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Christopher Ulutupu Artworks

Often featuring the environment as a backdrop, Ulutupu's work reconsiders stereotypical depictions of Pacific peoples while prompting questions about tradition and identity in a contemporary context.

Manaonao

Ulutupu's single-channel video Manaonao (2011) reflects the artist's longstanding interest in the collaborative nature of film production. The work opens with a woman singing, as a young boy drags an overhead projector into an assembly hall. Attached to the projector is a disco ball, which reflects sparkling lights onto the woman and the band as they perform on stage. The boy appears to wait for a date.

Manaonao closes with a scene of the boy dragging the apparatus elsewhere. The video merges performance (the band) and subplot (the boy) with the technical aspects of video production. Ulutupu has stated that the work marked 'the beginning in terms of my art practice... (in that it) informed how I would work with other people in my future works', emphasising the processes and memories that emerge during collective projects.

Lulu

Several of Ulutupu's work feature Lulu, a fictional character who replaces the 'dusky maiden' archetype as a modern Samoan woman, typically dressed in 1970s attire. Lulu is a singer whose performances challenge historical representations of Pacific peoples and their relationship with nature, and often appears outdoors or in urban settings.

On Ulutupu's solo exhibition Dreaming of Lulu at Wellington's Enjoy Contemporary Art Space in 2019, Hannah Amundsen wrote that Lulu 'normalises the hybridisation of the Pākehā and Polynesian worlds', allowing for a modernised understanding of Polynesian identity.

Landscape

Ulutupu examines the lingering effects of colonialism through images of landscape, in particular referring to early 20th-century landscape photography and picturesque postcards of the Pacific. In The Romantic Picturesque (Ladies) (2016), five white women replace the dusky maiden in a waterside landscape. With their backs to the camera, the women are absorbed in their own time and leisure—with two seen reading, another two seated on the ground, and the fifth wandering towards the water, before returning to her companions.

The Romantic Picturesque: The Postcard Trilogy (2016–2018) similarly takes place in nature, staging performances within landscapes. The first in the trilogy, titled Into the arms of my coloniser (2016), began as an exploration of the complexities of intercultural dating. In Do you still need me? (2017), miscommunication and dissonance form central topics.

Exhibitions

Christopher Ulutupu's work has been presented in both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Christopher Ulutupu, Jhana Millers, Wellington (2022); A Room in Time Screening: The Romantic Picturesque, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Christchurch (2021); Dreaming of Lulu, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space , Wellington (2019).

Group exhibitions include Self by others, Jhana Millers, Wellington (2021); More than all the ocean between us, Artspace, Sydney (2019); The Tomorrow People, Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Wellington (2017).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2022

Christopher Ulutupu Featured Artworks

View All (11)
What's the worse you could do? by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork moving image
Christopher Ulutupu What's the worse you could do?, 2021 4k video 2 channel projection, 11:10 mins looped
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Relax by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork print, moving image
Christopher Ulutupu Relax, 2016 Digital video, 4:03
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Honey by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork print, moving image
Christopher Ulutupu Honey, 2016 Digital video, 4:24
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
New Kid in Town VI by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork print, moving image
Christopher Ulutupu New Kid in Town VI, 2021 Digital video, still
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
There are worst things I could do by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork moving image
Christopher Ulutupu There are worst things I could do, 2018 4K video, 5:48 min, 10:01 min
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Leila by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork print, moving image
Christopher Ulutupu Leila, 2018 6 part 4K digital video, 20:33 mins
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Manaia Foliga (diptych) by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork print, moving image
Christopher Ulutupu Manaia Foliga (diptych), 2019 HD digital video, 4:11 min, 5:32 min
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery
Be Still by Christopher Ulutupu contemporary artwork moving image
Christopher Ulutupu Be Still, 2019 Video Loop, 17:38 min
Jhana Millers Contact Gallery

Christopher Ulutupu Recent Exhibitions

Christopher Ulutupu Represented By

Jhana Millers contemporary art gallery in Wellington, New Zealand
Jhana Millers Wellington
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