Simon Fujiwara

Welcome to the Hotel Munber


Simon Fujiwara’s narrative installation reveals a complex research into identity and cultural heritage as an open-ended process of investigation.

CURATOR: MELANIE O'BRIAN, CURATOR & HEAD OF PROGRAMS

Through performance, short stories, installationsets, lectures, and novels, British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara scripts and performs his own biography as fiction. Often weaving his own personal history into broad social events, Fujiwara constructs parallel histories that he presents through his role as raconteur and dramaturge. Playing multiple and often conflicting roles — from archaeologist and eroticist to architect — Fujiwara’s seemingly multifarious identities both establish and erase themselves within his shadowy narratives, forming a complex, fleeting portrait of the contemporary individual.

Welcome to the Hotel Munber (2010) is a multi-layered installation that sets the stage for his parents’ lives during the Franco era in Spain. The work is a reconstruction, based on photographs and oral histories, of the bar in his parents’ hotel during the 1970s. The scene — a stereotypical Spanish bar — has been authored by Fujiwara as an extension of an unfinished novel in which he reinterprets his parents’ lives as gay erotica. Pivoting on the censorship and sexual oppression enforced by Franco, Fujiwara has created an unnerving environment that deftly maps the conflict between desire and suppression operated by and within political systems. Fujiwara’s narrative installation reveals a complex research into identity and cultural heritage as an open-ended process of investigation.

Simon Fujiwara (born in London, 1982) lives and works in Berlin. He studied Architecture at Cambridge University and Fine Art at the Städelschule, Frankfurt. Recent solo exhibitions include those at MAK Center at the Schindler House, Los Angeles (2009), Art Statements, Art Basel 41 (2010) and Hamburger Kunsthalle (2011), and he will have upcoming solo exhibitions at CCA Wattis, San Francisco (2012) and Tate St. Ives (2012). Recent group exhibitions include the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009), 29th São Paulo Biennale (2010), Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010), and 11 Rooms, Manchester International Festival (2011). In 2010 he was the recipient of both the Art Basel Baloise Prize and the Cartier Award at Frieze, London, and his work is represented by Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt.

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