The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Experience It: Simon Fujiwara

6:30 pm, doors open at 6 pm

Simon Fujiwara has shaped a complex and rich practice that interweaves performance, film, sculpture, and text into highly immersive environmental installations exploring the inherent contradictions in meaning and interpretation of image and representation. Often bringing personal experiences (both real and imagined) into contact with broader historical, social, and political topics, his expansive practice examines the influence marketing, advertising, social media, and other communication mechanisms have on the construction of personal identity. Recent solo exhibitions include Joanne, Galerie Wedding, Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin (2018); Hope House, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz (2018); Figures in a Landscape, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf (2016); Joanne, The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2016); The Humanizer, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016); White Day, Tokyo Opera City Gallery (2016); The Way, Yu-un, Obayashi Collection, Tokyo (2016); Three Easy Pieces, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge (2014). Fujiwara is based in Berlin and represented by Esther Schipper, Berlin.

Immersive exhibitions that stimulate multiple senses—hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, even smelling—are common in contemporary art today. Museums, galleries, biennials, and art fairs are presenting work by artists who interweave objects, images, texts, sound, video, and performance into dense, enveloping environments. These presentations physically implicate viewers in orchestrated situations, both inside and outside the institution, where art and ideas coalesce through the direct experience of space and time. Often complex in the making, the work requires artists and their studios to corral a range of skilled resources to produce something well beyond the expertise and confines of an artist’s studio.

This development speaks to the changing characteristics of the artist figure—manager and artistic director, negotiator and administrator—in reaction to expectations of art institutions and audiences who crave more experiential engagement with contemporary art.

Experience It is a conversation series about this shift. In dialogue with visiting artists, the series examines, among other things, the social and architectural conditions of an exhibition site. The format includes conversations between each artist and curator and art historian James Voorhies, as well as viewings of film clips, performances, and images of their work. Experience It aims to reveal why artists choose their given artistic approaches, how institutions support them, and how they imagine their audiences as integral to the art, ultimately arriving at a better understanding of the “it” in the work.

Organized by James Voorhies, Chair of the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice at California College of the Arts, in partnership with Dena Beard, Director of The Lab. All events occur at The Lab and are free and open to the public.

Generous support for Experience It provided by Marv Tseu and Mary Mocas.

Simon Fujiwara, Joanne, 2016, mixed media installation with video projection (duration: 13:34min., dimensions variable.) Installation view. The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper.