Press release: Simon Fujiwara, Hello Who?
CIRCA PRESENTS SIMON FUJIWARA’S NEW CHAPTER IN WHO THE BÆR’S SEARCH FOR AN AUTHENTIC SELF
Press Release | April 2022
CIRCA, Piccadilly Circus, W1
In a new stop-motion animation by British-Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara, viewers are invited to follow Who the Bær – the 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.”
Alongside the public art commission, Simon Fujiwara has created two new artworks in support of the #CIRCAECONOMY:
- Hand-signed limited edition of 22 Silkscreen fine art print, size | £2,400
- Time-limited edition prints, available until midnight 30th April 2022, A4 | £122
Available to purchase exclusively on CIRCA.ART, proceeds from both sales will support the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model that funds the CIRCA free public art programme and creates life-changing opportunities for the art & culture community.
– ENDS –
HELLO WHO? BY SIMON FUJIWARA BROADCASTING 1-30 APRIL AT:
20:22 CET BERLIN LIMES, KURFÜRSTENDAMM MAP
20:22 GMT LONDON, PICCADILLY LIGHTS MAP
20:22 PST LOS ANGELES, PENDRY WEST HOLLYWOOD MAP
20:22 ACT MELBOURNE, FED SQUARE MAP
20:22 UTC MILAN, LUXOTTICA, PIAZZALE CADORNA MAP
20:22 EST NEW YORK, LUXOTTICA, TIMES SQUARE MAP
20:22 KST SEOUL, COEX K-POP SQUARE MAP
20:22 GMT ONLINE, CIRCA.ART
For press enquiries please contact:
Reece Prince Watson
T: + 00 44 7899 043357
Notes To Editors
Suggested Social Copy
This April @circa.art presents a new stop-motion animation by @simon.fujiwara inviting global audiences to discover @whothebaer on their quest for identity and belonging.
Through a series of personal, provocative and political questions, the cartoon protagonist tries to make sense of the world and their place within it. Curated by @rosenthal.norman #HelloWho? forms part of the #CIRCA2022 programme #ANDNOWWEBUILDWORLDS
Screening globally throughout April at 20:22:
🇬🇧 London: @PiccadillyLights, 20:22 GMT
🇩🇪 Berlin, @Limes_ooh, Kurfürstendamm, 20:22 CET
🇦🇺 Melbourne: @Fed.Square, at 20:22 AEDT
🇮🇹 Milan: @luxottica Piazzale Cadorna, 20:22 UTC
🇺🇸 Los Angeles: @pendrywesthollywood, 20:22 PST
🇺🇸 New York: @luxottica Times Square, 20:22 EST
🇰🇷 Seoul Coex, K-POP Square, 20:22 JST
Purchase a signed print by Simon Fujiwara on the @circa.art website. Proceeds support the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model that helps fund the CIRCA free public art programme and creates life-changing opportunities for the art & culture community.
Simon Fujiwara British Japanese artist Simon Fujiwara has spent over a decade exploring the mechanics of contemporary identity construction through several ambitious and renowned works that deftly navigate culturally potent topics. From a full reconstruction of the Anne Frank House – based on a model sold in the museum shop – to a rebranding campaign for his former art teacher after a topless tabloid media scandal, his work employs multiple formal approaches across video, sculpture, drawing, installation and performance. In his current work Who the Bær, Fujiwara created a ‘cartoon character as conceptual artwork’. Part being, part brand, Who the Bær exists in the ‘Whoniverse’ – a parallel world created by the artist. With seemingly no race, gender or clear sexual orientation, Who the Bær is in search of an identity in a world of endless images, constantly performing identities in their search for an authentic self. Who the Bær is Fujiwara’s playful, dada-esque response to a world that is ‘increasingly extreme and incomprehensible – a world that is becoming Un-Baerable’.
Fujiwara’s recent solo exhibitions have been held at Fondazione Prada, Milan, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria and Lafayette Anticipations, Paris. He was nominated for Germany’s national Preis der Nationalgalerie and is the recipient of the Frieze Cartier Award and the Art Basel Baloise Art Prize. His work is in the collections of MoMA and Guggenheim Museums, NY, Tate, London, Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.
CIRCA is a digital art and culture platform with purpose. We stop the clock on global media spaces every evening at 20:22 and mobilise the world’s greatest creative minds to broadcast unique works that consider our world today, circa 2022. The funds we generate from artist print sales drive the #CIRCAECONOMY – a circular model that supports our free public art programme and creates life-changing opportunities for the art & culture community.
Since launching in October 2020 on London’s iconic Piccadilly Lights, CIRCA has commissioned new work from rising and established artists including Ai Weiwei, Cauleen Smith, Eddie Peake, Anne Imhof, Patti Smith, Tony Cokes, Emma Talbot, Vivienne Westwood, James Barnor, David Hockney, and more.
CIRCA has been made possible by Landsec, landlord of Piccadilly Lights, who have kindly donated media space, as a helpful boost to the cultural scene in London’s West End.
CIRCA is grateful to Piccadilly Lights, Ocean Outdoor, Limes, Yunika Vision, CJ Powercast, Fed Square, Pendry West Hollywood for their support this month in supporting our free public art programme.