A Monthly Artwork Selection
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Spotlight: A Monthly Artwork Selection

Simon Fujiwara, Who’s Childhood?, 2021

Simon Fujiwara, Who's Childhood?, 2021, sculptural video installation (cardboard, electrical tape, Plexiglas, antique tripod, projector, projection screen), duration: 2:27 min, 164 x 73 x 73 cm, variable edition of 3.
Exhibition view: AMTSALON, Berlin, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
Simon Fujiwara
Who’s Childhood?, 2021
Sculptural video installation
Cardboard, electrical tape, Plexiglas, antique tripod, projector, projection screen
Duration: 2:27 min
164 x 73 x 73 cm
Variable edition of 3
INQUIRE
 
Simon Fujiwara’s acclaimed project Who the Bær was developed during the lockdown in the spring of 2020 and is now the centre of a major exhibition at Fondazione Prada, Milan, and Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam.

In this new body of work, the artist 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".
Exhibition view: AMTSALON, Berlin, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
Much like other beloved and iconic cartoon characters, Fujiwara has created entire fairytale universe for Who the Bær that manifests in drawings, collages, sculptures and animations.

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. 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.
Click the image to watch a video of Simon Fujiwara's Who’s Childhood?, 2021. Video © Simon Fujiwara
The sculptural video installation Who’s Childhood projects an animation depicting a revisionist history of Who's childhood. Housed in a cartoonish sculptural projector, the home-movie style animation parodies tropes of childhood nostalgia and authenticity. The association with home movies is reinforced by the animation's soundtrack featuring the low hum of a rattling film projector.
Exhibition view: AMTSALON, Berlin, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
 

AMTSALON Berlin

Exhibition view: A solo presentation by Simon Fujiwara, with works from the artist's most recent project Who the Bær, AMTSALON Berlin, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
Simon Fujiwara
AMTSALON
Kantstraße 79
10627 Berlin
Through June 24, 2021
www.amtsalonberlin.com


Works from the Who the Bær series are now on view in the inaugural edition of AMTSALON Berlin. Housed in the premises of the former district court of Charlottenburg, Amtsalon opens its doors to the public as a pop-up of twenty-four Berlin galleries from June 17-24 only.
Exhibition view: A solo presentation by Simon Fujiwara, with works from the artist's most recent project Who the Bær, AMTSALON Berlin, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
 

Online Viewing Room

Simon Fujiwara, Who's Looking for Love? (Deep Dive Dating), 2021, inkjet print and paper on card, 73 x 97 x 3,5 cm. Photo © Studio Fujiwara
Online Viewing Room
Simon Fujiwara, Who the Bær
Through July 14, 2021
www.estherschipper.com


Esther Schipper and Dvir Gallery are pleased to present parallel Online Viewing Rooms on the occasion of Simon Fujiwara's solo exhibition at Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam.

Both Online Viewing Rooms present a selection of works from the Who the Bær series on view at Kunstinstituut Melly through September 12, 2021.

Click here to discover our Online Viewing Room.
 
Simon Fujiwara (b. 1982 London, United Kingdom) lives and works in Berlin.<br><br>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 works 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 (<strong>Hope House</strong>, 2016–18) to the “re-branding campaign” for his former high school art teacher after a nude media scandal (<strong>Joanne</strong>, 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.<br><br>Institutional solo exhibitions include: <b>new work</b>, Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam (2021); <b>Who the Bær</b>, Fondazione Prada, Milan (2021); <b>Hope House</b>, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, (2020); <b>Joanne</b>, Arken, Ishøj (2019); <b>Revolution</b>, Lafayette Anticipations – Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation, Paris, (2018);<br><b>Joanne</b>, Galerie Wedding, Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2018); <b>Hope House</b>, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2018); <b>Figures in a Landscape</b>, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, (2016), and <b>Joanne</b>, The Photographers' Gallery, London (2016).<br>

Simon Fujiwara (b. 1982 London, United Kingdom) 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 works 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, 2016–18) 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.

Institutional solo exhibitions include: new work, Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam (2021); Who the Bær, Fondazione Prada, Milan (2021); Hope House, Blaffer Art Museum, Houston, (2020); Joanne, Arken, Ishøj (2019); Revolution, Lafayette Anticipations – Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation, Paris, (2018);
Joanne, Galerie Wedding, Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2018); Hope House, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2018); Figures in a Landscape, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, (2016), and Joanne, The Photographers' Gallery, London (2016).


© Andrea Rossetti
 

Concurrent Exhibitions

Exhibition view: Simon Fujiwara, new work, Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam, 2021. Photo © Jeroen Lavèn
Simon Fujiwara
new work
Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam
Through September 12, 2021
www.kunstinstituutmelly.nl
 
Exhibition view: Simon Fujiwara, Who the Bær, Fondazione Prada, Milan, 2021. Photo © Andrea Rossetti
Simon Fujiwara
Who the Bær
Fondazione Prada, Milan
Through September 27, 2021
www.fondazioneprada.org
 

Who the Bær on Instagram

Who the Bær can be followed via their official Instagram account @whothebaer, where they post works, interact with users and have previously taken over the Hamburger Kunsthalle Instagram account!
 

Reading Corner

Simon Fujiwara<br>

Simon Fujiwara

Hope House
2018
Publisher: Kunsthaus Bregenz
Languages: English, German

Available here

Simon Fujiwara

Simon Fujiwara

Catalogue
2016
Publisher: HeHe
Languages: English, Japanese

Available here

 

Selected Press

Frieze
Simon Fujiwara’s ‘Cartoonified’ Quest for Identity
by Ana Vukadin
Read it here
The Best Exhibitions to See in Europe this Summer


"Throughout Who’s various iterations, the artist uses humour and irreverence – the show is full of visual puns and wordplay – to keep each new adventure entertaining and to cut through the polarizing nature of current debates on identity politics. By showing us the world via Who’s simplistic lens, Fujiwara exposes the dangers of ignoring nuance when grappling with the complex questions of our time."

— Ana Vukadin for Frieze, June 2021
 
Esther Schipper GmbH, Potsdamer Stra├če 87, 10785 Berlin