Tate St Ives Spring Exhibition 2012 presenting: Simon Fujiwara


Tate St Ives presents the first major exhibition in the UK of the work of Simon Fujiwara (b 1982).

Fujiwara is a young British/Japanese artist who has been building a strong reputation over the last few years with a string of acclaimed projects around the world. Since 1982  includes six new works, created especially for Tate St Ives.

Through installation, performance and writing, Fujiwara draws on his biography as a starting point for a research-based practice, creating engaging and sometimes challenging stories that mix fact and fiction to compelling and powerful effect.

The artist fuses the private sphere with the social realm, blurring reality and storytelling to create a drama in which he plays the roles of multiple characters: anthropologist, novelist, and eroticist, among others. His quasi-ethnographic approach – in which he employs techniques of excavation and display – brings together both artefacts and memories to produce alternate readings of personal, cultural and political histories.

Fujiwara grew up in Carbis Bay, just a mile from St Ives, and his recent projects have increasingly explored his childhood experiences in Cornwall. Given this unique context, the exhibition is presented as a kind of ‘return home of the prodigal son’. In addition, Fujiwara integrates key works from the Tate Collection alongside his installations.

The exhibition includes important recent works such as The Mirror Stage 2009-12, an exploration of his adolescent encounter with a Patrick Heron painting at the opening of Tate St Ives in 1993; Welcome to the Hotel Munber 2008-10, the set for a fictitious erotic story taking place in the Spanish hotel bar his parents ran during Franco’s regime; and Letters From Mexico 2010-11, a group of dispatches the artist has written to ‘Europe’, which discuss subjects ranging from colonialism and class inequality to sexual liberation.

In addition, the show presents a number of newly commissioned works. These include Rehearsal for a Reunion (with the Father of Pottery) 2011-12, a revisiting of Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada’s friendship in the form of a pottery workshop Fujiwara undertook with his Japanese father. Mothers, of Invention 2012 is a stage like display inspired, in part, by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Barbara Hepworth’s St Ives studio.


Simon Fujiwara (born London, 1982; lives and works in Berlin) took a BA in Architecture at Cambridge University before moving to the Städelschule Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main, where he studied art from 2006 to 2008. He has participated in several biennials (Manifesta 8 and São Paulo Biennial in 2010; Singapore Biennial, Manchester International Festival, and Performa in 2011) and has been presented at venues such as the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco; SF MoMA, San Francisco; The Power Plant, Toronto; MUSAC, Léon; Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf; HAU, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. His practice has been met with critical acclaim in the past few years, with notable achievements such as winning the Cartier Award at Frieze Art Fair and the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel in 2010.


Opening hours: March-October daily 10.00-17.20, last admission 17.00.

November-February, Tuesday-Sunday 10.00-16.20, last admission 16.00. Admission:

£6.50; £3.90 concessions; free to 18s and under and Members


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