Pictured: Saint Simon 2012 – Simon Fujiwara © Tate
Since 1982, is Simon Fujiwara’s first major exhibition in the UK and is something of a homecoming for this important British/Japanese artist, who grew up in Carbis Bay, just a mile from St Ives. This is a fascinating exploration by the artist of his early life and sexual identity growing up on the Cornwall coast.
Autobiography informs much of Fujiwara’s work and he interweaves fact and fiction as he examines the influences on his life since his conception in 1982, (hence the show title) through to adulthood. Installation, performance and writing is all used to great effect here. As are the incorporation of a number of important pieces from the Tate Collection – Patrick Heron and Francis Bacon, Sarah Lucas, Mona Hatoum, and Cathy de Monchaux to name but a few – all re-presented here within Fujiwara’s own personal narrative.
Some of these works, such as Selective Memory 2012, a group of large scale model lighthouses, are inspired by Fujiwara’s childhood memories of Alfred Wallis paintings. But others are pure fabrication, the unreliable narrator’s contradictory persuasion of truth. This is a fascinating, thought provoking exhibition that is a reminder of how memory of an object, or time and place can evoke complicated and difficult inner fantasies. Many of us do not share them, thankfully Simon Fujiwara does.
Since 1982 Simon Fujiwara at Tate St Ives runs from 18th January to 7th May.
Simon Fujiwara lives and works in Berlin, he 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. He won the Cartier Award at Frieze Art Fair and the Baloise Art Prize at Art Basel in 2010.