• Simon Fujiwara

    Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam
  • Dvir Gallery and Esther Schipper are delighted to showcase Simon Fujiwara's solo exhibition 'new work' at Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam.

     

    For his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, the artist presents works from his most recent project Who the Bær. Developed during the lockdown in the spring of 2020, Fujiwara created a unique cartoon character in the form of a denim wearing bear with a golden heart and an uncontrollably long tongue, that seemingly has no gender, race, sexuality or even a clear design. Without an identity, Who exists only as an image, a status that allows them the freedom to roam a world of online images, appropriating characters, identities, aesthetics and guises in a greedy search for a ‘self’.

  • Simon Fujiwara

    Photo © Miro Kuzmanovic, Kunsthaus Bregenz

    Simon Fujiwara

    (b. 1982, London, UK. Lives and works in Berlin)

     

    The work of British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara offers a unique view into the mechanics of identity construction and the ‘industry of the individual’ in contemporary life. His dual ethnic heritage as well as his childhood—raised between Britain, Japan and Africa—have informed his works that emerge from a personal grappling with the contradictions of inherited racial, national, historical, cultural values.

     

    In his most ambitious projects that range from a full reconstruction of the Anne Frank House (Hope House, 2016-8) to the “re-branding campaign” for his former high school art teacher after a nude media scandal (Joanne, 2016), Fujiwara deftly navigates culturally potent topics with enigmatic and surprising approaches that broaden conversations and avoid didacticism. Through his multiple formal strategies, Fujiwara is able to use the tools of our hyper-mediated world—from advertising, museum making to theme park design—to hold a distorted mirror to our contemporary, liberal societies possessed with spectacle, fantasy and authenticity. 

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  • Who for President, 2021

    Screened on a monitor embedded in the puppet-theatre like stage setting, a stop-motion animation functions as a political campaign video for Who’s presidential candidacy.

    Foam core, TV monitor, animation

    Toy car, cardboard, paper, Vaseline pot, wooden dowel, aluminum can (car models)
    Paper and cardboard (collages)
    26 x 16 x 30 cm (10 1/4 x 6 1/4 x 11 3/4 in); 26 x 11 x 59 cm (10 1/4 x 4 3/8 x 23 1/4 in); 52 x 28,5 x 8 cm (20 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 3 1/8 in) (3 car models)
    97 x 73 x 3,5 cm (38 1/4 x 28 3/4 x 1 3/8 in) each, 2 parts (framed)
    118 x 90 x 27 cm (46 1/2 x 35 3/8 x 10 5/8 in) (sculptural video component)
    Duration: 1:33 min
    Edition of 3

  • Through Who the Bær, Fujiwara explores complex topics using the reductive logic of the cartoon universe to expose the normalizing...

    Through Who the Bær, Fujiwara explores complex topics using the reductive logic of the cartoon universe to expose the normalizing power of the capitalist image culture we inhabit. Fujiwara’s existential cartoon character oscillates between subject and symbol, being and thing and is a tool for the artist to investigate cultural anxieties around identity and its relationship to the performativity of image culture.

     

    Made with an instinctive and responsive hand, this exhibition focuses largely on collaged works that introduce us to the basic principles of his character through a meme-like, cut and paste aesthetic. Housed within a fragmented, themed environment of oversize bear cut-outs, we discover the pleasures and traumas, violence and joys of life in the mediated modern world through the absurd adventures of a cartoon bear.

     

    Who the Bær can also be followed via their official Instagram account, @whothebaer.

  • Who is From Venus and Who is from Mars?, 2021

    Who is From Venus and Who is from Mars?, 2021

    Charcoal, pencil and mixed media collage on paper
    91,5 x 179 x 3,5 cm (36 1/8 x 70 1/2 x 1 3/8 in) each (2 parts)
    unique
  • Who is He?, 2021

    Charcoal, pastel, pencil, inkjet print on paper
    48 x 35,7 x 3,5 cm (18 7/8 x 14 1/8 x 1 3/8 in) each (11 parts)
    unique