In search of ourselves through the works of Simon Fujiwara

Simon Fujiwara is a conceptual artist who was born in London in 1982 but now resides in Berlin. His work focuses on critical analysis of contemporary culture, particularly the nature of fame, celebrity, and the perception of identity.

Fujiwara studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin and the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Städelschule in Frankfurt. He has exhibited all over the world, including MoMA in New York, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and the Venice Biennale.

The exhibition entitled “Who the bær,” which concluded in September 2021 at the Fondazione Prada, was an opportunity for the public to immerse themselves in Fujiwara’s creative universe and explore some of the themes he holds dear.

Simon Fujiwara, who the Bær, 2021 – Courtesy Fondazione Prada

The exhibition opens with a large installation resembling a spiral corridor, through which visitors witness the creation of this character, who is an ors* in search of his own identity. Exploring the almost labyrinthine space, one is thrown into a journey of growth, self-awareness, and evolution.

“Who” not yet being well defined, adapts to the forms and space she finds herself in, depending on what her desires and impulses are, but without conforming to any kind of predefined category, she is a being in the making. In parts bear, parts woman and parts man, Fujiwara’s entire oeuvre represents an investigation of human desire from its birth to when it is placed in and relates to the world. 

The figure of the bear was chosen by the artist precisely because it is a symbol of power and strength, but at the same time, it is a vulnerable and threatened animal, reconfirming the continuous existence of the contradictions that characterize the world and history. 

Simon Fujiwara, Who the Bær, 2021 – Courtesy FOndazione Prada, ph. Andrea Rossetti

To best render the infinite possibilities of expression, Fujiwara himself uses all the expressive means at his disposal: from simple pencil strokes to video clips, making these different media interact with each other. 

Simon Fujiwara, Who the Bær – Cortesy Fondazione Prada, ph.Andrea Rossetti

Ultimately, Fujiwara’s work is characterized by an interdisciplinary approach, combining elements of art history, popular culture, and sociology, giving the opportunity to reflect on our inner being, but also providing an accurate perspective on what is happening around us.