Cotton with digital print
30 x 155 cm [11.8 x 61 inches]
Edition of 50, accompanied by signed and numbered certificate.
About the work
For the Whitechapel Gallery, Simon Fujiwara has generously created a new limited edition to accompany the exhibition Is This Tomorrow?, 14 February – 12 May 2019.
Fujiwara takes the symbolism of the guillotine and applies it to his Whitechapel edition, a scarf made from cotton jersey.
Invented in the French Revolution, the guillotine replaced earlier execution methods. Previously peasants and commoners sentenced to death were hung and the nobility decapitated by a sword yielding executioner. Partly in response to the high number of executions taking place and also to a new democratic ideology, the nation needed an efficient single form of execution “for everybody”.
The guillotine symbol has been monogrammed, turning it into a repeating motif, hinting at the way aesthetics today, through fashion and through hyper capitalism and mass media, have disrupted the value of historic symbols, or indeed any symbols as marketable commodities. The guillotine - a machine that once signaled terror- is now a “cute” motif. The fabric on which the motif is printed, a grey sweatshirt jersey was commonly associated with lower classes as a ‘lazy’ or ‘low’ material. Since the ‘athleisure’ and fitness ‘revolution’ as well as the breakdown of aesthetics in relation to wealth, the material is worn across the board by all classes and wealth brackets. The two symbols of democracy, a world ‘for all’ are brought together, for Fujiwara, a positive thing.
Fujiwara intends for the work to be either hung on a wall or worn. The shredded detail can be seen as homage to the guillotines original function, but also as a way for the wearer to adapt the scarf to their individual style.
About the artist
Simon Fujiwara (b. 1982, UK; lives in Berlin, Germany) works across performance, painting, video, sculpture, and installation. In his work people, technology, images and objects are tools used to paint a compelling and fragmented portrait of the 21st century.
Recent solo exhibitions include Hope House, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2018; Joanne, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, 2017; The Humanizer, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2016; Grand Tour, Kunstverein Braunschweig, 2013; and Simon Fujiwara: since 1982, Tate St Ives , 2012. Recent group exhibitions include Storylines: Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2015; Un Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2014; as well as the Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013; 9th Shanghai Biennale, 2012; and 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009.
Whitechapel Gallery editions are generously donated by the artists. All proceeds from the sale of these works directly support our exhibition and education programmes. As is traditional in editions publishing, prices will rise as an edition starts to sell out.
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