Simon Fujiwara in conversation with Lisa Le Feuvre, Head of Sculpture Studies, Henry Moore Institute, with introduction by Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society on 30 January 2014.
An edition of Simon Fujiwara’s Rebekkah was recently purchased for Leeds Art Gallery through the Contemporary Art Society Collections Committee. Established in 2012, the committee selects and buys works by early and mid-career artists to gift to regional museums across the UK.
Rebekkah feeds into existing narratives within the collections at Leeds Art Gallery and helps to chart the development of life-size figure sculpture and portrait sculpture from the 19th century. The work 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 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. 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.
The work was displayed at Contemporary Art Society from 29 January – 28 March 2014.