The Contemporary Art Society have announced Simon Fujiwara as the next artist to exhibit as part of their DISPLAYS series. Fujiwara’s work, Rebekkah, was recently purchased for Leeds Art Gallery through the Contemporary Art Society Collections Committee. Rebekkah is inspired by a 16 year old girl from Hackney, Rebekkah, who was one of the protagonists of the 2011 London Riots. Rebekkah was asked by Fujiwara to travel to China to take part in a unique social experiment, where her access to social media was restricted and she visited factories manufacturing the objects she aspired to own and took for granted (fashion clothing, mobile phones, flat-screen TVs). The trip culminated with a viewing of the Terracotta Army, after which Rebekkah was taken to a factory where casts were made of her body to be assembled into modern day versions of the warriors. Up to 100 figures were created in this assembly line technique, elevating Rebekkah to a new position: a representative of a new breed of British-born warrior and a soldier for social change. A selection of the figures will be on display at the Contemporary Art Society, with an accompanying video.
Established in 2012, the Contemporary Art Society Collections Committee selects and buys works by early and mid-career artists to gift to regional museums across the UK and is a vital part of our philanthropic work. The committee is chaired by Trustee and well-known collector, Cathy Wills. Leeds Art Gallery was selected to receive the work due to the museum’s extensive and important sculpture collection. Rebekkah feeds into existing narratives within the collections at Leeds and helps to chart the development of life-size figure sculpture and portrait sculpture from the 19th century.
SIMON FUJIWARA was born in London in 1982 and spent his childhood between Japan, England, Spain and Africa. In January 2012, Tate St Ives hosted his first major solo survey exhibition, Since 1982, which was held in his hometown of St Ives and featured six of his key autobiographically charged installations. In 2011, Berlin’s Hebbel am Ufer theatre showed his first theatre work, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which incorporated three of his acclaimed performances into a full three-act play which subsequently toured to New York’s Performa 11 Biennale and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. His works have been shown in solo and group exhibitions around the world including Toronto’s Power Plant, New York’s MoMA, Artonje Centre, Seoul, and Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale and Shanghai Biennale. His installations are in museums and foundation collections including the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Prada Foundation, Milan and the Tate collection, London. In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Baloise-Art Prize at Art Basel and the Cartier Award at Frieze Art Fair. He has published two artist’s books, The Museum of Incest and 1982.
Image: Simon Fujiwara, Rebekkah (2012), one hundred, terra-cotta dyed, life sized, cast plaster female figures, dimensions variable, production photograph, courtesy the artist.
Simon Fujiwara Display (29 January – 28 March) and Artist Talk (30 January, 19.00) 59 Central Street, London EC1V 3AF