Robbie Handcock


NameRobbie Handcock (he/him)
Country of BirthPhilippines
Place of ResidenceTāmaki Makaurau Auckland
EthnicitiesFilipino, Pākehā
ArtformVisual arts
Decades Active2010s, 2020s


Robbie Handcock is a Filipino/Pākehā artist and curator who graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Massey University in 2016. His painting practice reframes historic depictions of gay sexuality to consider contemporary queer existence. Using a distinctively lush palette, he often depicts bare male bodies with a minimum of detail which are cropped to focus on gay sex or parts of the body.

Handcock’s series of monoprints in Switch (2021), an exhibition at Jhana Millers, Pōneke, with Caitlin Devoy, playfully depicts penises amongst, and even pissing into, bougie domestic objects such as pot plants or a Chemex coffee pot. Of these works, Handcock says:

I don’t really see my work as particularly titillating or salacious necessarily, but more flippant and silly […] There’s a wink nudge type of humour there, an inference to sexual perversion, but I also think they’re quite absurd, which perhaps reflects an attitude to sexuality more broadly.

Handcock was a facilitator at artist-run gallery play_station, Pōneke between 2019-2020. He was also host of the CIRCUIT podcast Popular Glory: Contemporary Queerness and the Moving Image. Handcock moved to Tāmaki Makaurau in 2021 to work for Gus Fisher Gallery as their Public Programmes Officer.

As the curator of The Inner Lives of Islands (2021), Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau, Handcock was interested in shared cultural values, narrative structures and playfulness from artists across the Asia-Pacific. He was specifically prompted by anecdotal knowledge about the popularity of Filipino soap operas in Sāmoa. "I wanted to explore what kind of shared cultural values were present that allowed for such an exchange".

As an artist, Handcock has had solo exhibitions at Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, play_station and RM Gallery. Handcock is currently Kaiāwhina Whakaaturanga Assistant Curator at Artspace Aotearoa, a role he began in 2023. He is also part of the Satellites curatorial group who are curating an international visiting artists programme of Asian diaspora artists in 2024-25.


Key works / presentations

2021 — The Inner Lives of Islands (curator), Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau

2021 — Switch (with Caitlin Devoy), Jhana Millers Gallery, Pōneke

2019 — FOR THE LAST TIME WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT by Elisabeth Pointon (play_station facilitator), HOBIENNALE, Tasmania, Australia

2019 — OnlyFans, RM Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau

2018 — Love you to the wrist and back, play_station, Pōneke

2017 — Indecent Literature, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Pōneke

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Last updated: 29 February 2024 Suggest an Edit