This morning I was lucky to meet the artist Simon Fujiwara, on the opening of his solo exhibition at the Dvir Gallery.
Fujiwara led us throught the 3 floors of the galleries. We started at the bottom floor (-1). The works on that floor, 7 large paintings, were commissioned by the artist from Mansudae Art Studio, a North Korea’s state art production facility. Fujiwara ordered paintings of milk from anonymous artists, bearing in mind thatno fresh milk is produced in that east asian country. He ordered oil on canvas paintings, yet one of them, which is very different in handling the paint, and smaller than the others, was made in acrylic. When I asked Fujiwara why it was so important for him that the paintings will be made in oil, he answered that it is the traditional painting he was interested in, in other words, it was the Aura of the paintings/objects that Fujiwara was looking for.
Up to the next floor, many abstarct paintings were hung lower than eye level. At first I didn’t understand this decision. A few minutes later Fujiwara said that all the paintings were made by cows on a kibbutz In Israel. Fujiwara said that he was fascinated by the fact that Israel is making substantial investments in milk production. I was thinking if that had to do with the phrase that was mentioned twice in deuteronomy, depicting Israel as the land of milk and honey. (in hebrew – eretz zavat chalav u’dvash)
The top floor included 6 paintings made in 2015, made with make-up on linen, stretched on wood. The are entitled Merkel, after Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of germany. Fujiwara explaind that these large paintings were made with make up that is used for HD photography studios to cover stains or other blemishes in a way that the makeup will become invisible through HD technology.
The exhibition moves from North Korea to Israel and Germany. On every floor Fujiwara made strong statement as to the reasons that led him to choose the country. Every premise was cleverly justified. It was very intereting that our small tour ended in the “German Pavilion”. Fujiwara mentioned that whatever country he visits – he feels that the word Germany still holds the noun “war” in it. In that sense he was talking about the fact that makeup is like a robe of an empereor, and since one cannot photograph these paintings – as they are “concealing” themselves with Merkel’s makeup, very soft peaches and pinks – he finally mentioned the Emperor’s New Clothes.