Simon Fujiwara observes with critical and delighted eyes today’s Berlin – or anywhere else – through a labyrinthic exhibition on show at the Giò Marconi gallery in Milan.
Presented at the Giò Marconi Gallery in Milan, “Heaven” is an exhibition where Simon Fujiwara tells us of today’s Berlin, lived from the perspective of a British-Japanese artist who has lived there. The show is presented within a sculptural labyrinth, containing a series of recent works that lead the viewer through the gallery space to a secret chamber.
Masks (Merkel) 2015 is a set of works on linen depicting the face of Angela Merkel made with the make up products used by the German Chancellor herself. Fujiwara met the chancellor’s make up artist during a film shoot and invited her to his studio where she produced a portrait of Merkel using her make up. Fujiwara enlarged this portrait by 1000 times and began to reproduce, in sections and by hand, the chancellor’s face with the identical materials creating a “fragmented, pixelated image of the iconic leader that is too large and too close to comprehend as an image”.
The sound of singing children echoes through the white spaces, audio from a video document of the artist at the age of ten in a school musical adaptation of The Sound of Music. In the video Fujiwara plays Captain von Trapp, the patriarchal head of an Austrian family under threat from Nazi invasion. The song “Edelweiss” – although intended as a resistance song – is a highly nationalistic ballad sung by the young Japanese artist in Britain in the early 1990s.
Made for the occasion a series titled Innocent Materials. Here Fujiwara asks a philosophical sculptural question: can material be innocent of political and economic associations? And if so, can material itself be guilty? A blonde, artificial hairpiece presented as both an inviting portal and a sealed reliquary, a freshly cleaned baby christening dress, a replica of the Anne Frank diary produced as merchandise containing blank pages to complete yourself and a transparent politician’s speaker podium are among the items that punctuate the space. For Fujiwara these items embody the contradictory values of democratic capitalism, possessed with it’s own image of freedom and participation but ultimately controlled and reserved, sensual and emotionally evocative yet clean and consumable.
until 30 September 2017 Simon Fujiwara. Heaven Giò Marconi
via Tadino 20, Milan