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CIRCA 20:22

Simon Fujiwara, Hello Who?

1-29 April

In a new stop-motion animation by British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara, viewers are invited to follow Who the Bærthe cartoon protagonist – on their quest for identity and belonging. Curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal, ‘Hello Who?’ will premiere 1 April on London’s Piccadilly Lights and broadcast everyday at 20:22 throughout the month across the CIRCA global network of screens in Berlin, Los Angeles, Milan, Melbourne, New York and Seoul.

Through a series of personal, provocative and political questions, (Who wrote history? Who wants love eternally? Who will stop the awful greed? Who needs a goddamn nap?) Who – as they are known – tries to make sense of the world and their place within it. Conceived during the first COVID-19 lockdown, when reality was flattened into content, Who the Bær holds up a mirror to the dominance of images in society and the influence they hold over how we see and understand ourselves.

Following Who the Bær’s debut at Fondazione Prada in 2021, Hello Who? will occupy digital billboard screens around the world in this next chapter commissioned by CIRCA. Interrupting the otherwise endless flow of advertisements, Fujiwara’s stop-motion work pauses the consumerist, image-based culture that it is calling into question. The artist explains:

I created my cartoon Who the Bær as a dada-esque response to our increasingly extreme and incomprehensible times. With no identity – no race, gender or sexuality – I wanted Who to help create a language to play with complex ideas and even taboos in our era of identity politics. Who the Bær is just an image seeking an identity in the world of images, and so presenting them globally on the large screens of the CIRCA platform feels like a perfect way to bring Who the Bær out of the museums and into the public space for the first time.

 Hello Who? transmits nostalgia, anxiety and a longing for authenticity – a story that oscillates between the extremes of joy, hedonism, melancholy and loneliness. Deconstructing identity, Who’s search for an authentic self encapsulates the CIRCA 2022 manifesto ‘AND NOW WE BUILD WORLDS’, creating a guide to everyone attempting to navigate what it means to be “real” in an image-saturated world.

 Sir Norman Rosenthal, Curator, comments:

Simon Fujiwara is a surrealist of the now who’s work speaks from the heart. He sees the contemporary world and the issues it faces in deliberately weird, spectacular ways. His surprising – often even to himself – subject matters can be tragic or comic, or indeed both simultaneously. Whether for instance, he is re-imaging the colonial history of Mexico, the horrific world once inhabited by Anne Frank, or the now recent persona of Angela Merkel, he is drawing our attention to the all too often ridiculous commodification and mediation of his chosen themes.

Now in the midst of the pandemic he has imagined his childlike subject of Who the Bear. A subject, symbol and muse to the artist, Fujiwara is taking what appears to us as a simple cartoon image into wildly inventive new terrains –  translating Who into colourful, ever moving metamorphosis of today’s cultural, historical, social, sexual new norms. Together with Who,  we think and laugh simultaneously.

 

Screen locations

LONDON (20:22 GMT)

Piccadilly Lights

BERLIN (20:22 CET )

Limes, Kurfürstendamm

LOS ANGELES (20:22 PST)

Pendry West Hollywood

MELBOURNE (20:22 ACT)

Fed Square

MILAN (20:22 CET)

Cadorna Square, EssilorLuxottica

NEW YORK (20:22 EST )

Luxottica, Times Square

SEOUL (20:22 KST)

COEX K-Pop Square

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Press

31/03/2022 Press release: Simon Fujiwara, Hello Who?
31/03/2022 Hello Who? - Stop-Motion-Animation von Simon Fujiwara auf dem Kurfürstendamm
01/04/2022 Simon Fujiwara's Who the Bær is coming to a billboard near you