Simon Fujiwara

31 July 2014
Simon Fujiwara, Rebekkah (2012), Five terracotta dyed, life size, cast plaster female figures and video, dimensions variable. Installation photograph at the Contemporary Art Society, 2014. Courtesy Joe Plommer.

Leeds Art Gallery

Simon Fujiwara (b. 1982, London, UK) lives and works in Berlin. Using a combination of performance, video, installation and short stories, Fujiwara’s work is rooted in dense dramas about personal relationships, family relations, politics, architecture and history. Over the past few years he has had solo exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014) and Tate St Ives (2012). In 2010, Fujiwara was awarded The Cartier Award at Frieze Art Fair, London.

Rebekkah is a 16 year old girl from Hackney who was one of the protagonists of the London riots in 2011. Instead of facing prosecution, Rebekkah was asked by Simon Fujiwara to travel to China to take part in a unique social experiment. During this time she was given no access to social media and was unable to communicate with her peers, giving her time to reflect on her experiences. While in China Rebekkah visited factories where many of the objects she owns or aspires to own (fashion clothing, mobile phones, flatscreen TVs) are produced and witnessed what can be achieved when a massive-scale, national
population pulls together towards one common goal: individual improvement through mass production, organisation and hard work.

The trip culminated with a viewing of the Terracotta Warriors, 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. Rebekkah feeds into existing narratives within the collection at Leeds Art Gallery and helps to chart the development of life-size figure sculpture and portrait sculpture from the 19th century.

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society Collections Committee, 2013


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