Press Release: Simon Fujiwara at Contemporary Art Society

13 January 2014 By
Simon Fujiwara, Rebekkah (2012), one hundred, terra-cotta dyed, life sized, cast plaster female figures, dimensions variable, production photograph, courtesy the artist
Simon Fujiwara, Rebekkah (2012), one hundred, terra-cotta dyed, life sized, cast plaster female figures, dimensions variable, production photograph, courtesy the artist

Press Briefing: 30 January, 17.45 – 18.30 (RSVP by 24 January)
A press briefing outlining forthcoming displays at Central Street, recent acquisitions by important emerging artists, and updates on our philanthropic work across the country. The briefing coincides with the opening of our Simon Fujiwara display, and presentations will be given by new Director Caroline Douglas and Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies at The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds. We are delighted that Simon Fujiwara will attend to speak to the press.

Artist Talk: 30 January, 19.00

Public Display: 29 January – 28 March (Tues – Fri, 11.00 – 17.00)


An edition of Simon Fujiwara’s 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, shifting 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.

For all press enquiries and to RSVP for the press briefing, contact:
Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager
+44 (0)20 7017 8412


Notes to Editors:


Born in London in 1982, Simon Fujiwara 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.


The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8,000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the UK.

*Other forthcoming displays at Contemporary Art Society, 59 Central Street:

Three Women Painters: Phoebe Unwin, Clare Woods & Lynette Yiadom-Boakye (17 APRIL — 13 JUNE, Artist Talk: 15 May, 19.00)

*Key facts about Contemporary Art Society acquisitions:

The Contemporary Art Society is the leading organisation for identifying emerging talent in the UK and has donated many ‘firsts’ to museums across the country throughout its illustrious history, including the first works by Paul Gauguin, Pablo Picasso and Francis Bacon and, more recently, the first works by Damien Hirst, Elizabeth Price and 2013 Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost.

  • 1910 Contemporary Art Society makes its first purchase, Augustus John’s Smiling Woman, which was later presented to Tate in 1917
  • 1917 Contemporary Art Society gifts Paul Gauguin’s Tahitians to Tate
  • 1933 Contemporary Art Society gifts Pablo Picasso’s Flowers to Tate – the first Picasso ever to be acquired by Tate
  • 1946 The first work by Francis Bacon is purchased, Figure Study II
  • 1967 Henry Moore’s Knife Edge – Two Piece presented to the City of Westminster and permanently sited in Abingdon Street Gardens, London W1
  • 1988 Mark Wallinger’s Lost Horizon is gifted to The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke on Trent
  • 1992 Damien Hirst’s Forms Without Life is gifted to Tate – the first Hirst ever to be donated to Tate


The city of Leeds has one of the UK’s strongest collections of British sculpture and is part of the Designated fine art collection of Leeds Museums and Galleries. The sculpture collection is managed and developed through a unique collaboration between Leeds Museums and Galleries and The Henry Moore Foundation. The Henry Moore Institute, situated next door to Leeds Art Gallery, oversees the administration and curatorial development of the sculpture collections in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery. Today the Leeds sculpture collections comprise over 800 objects, 400 works on paper and the Henry Moore Institute Archive of over 270 collections of sculptors’ papers. Leeds Museums and Galleries are part of Leeds City Council and The Henry Moore Institute is part of The Henry Moore Foundation, which was set up by the artist in 1977 to advance the public appreciation of sculpture.