Simon Fuji­wara
Joanne

18th February – 6th March 2021
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Simon Fujiwara’s work can be seen as a response to the cul­tur­al obses­sion with self-pre­sen­ta­tion that new tech­nolo­gies pro­voke in indi­vid­u­als. His film Joanne (2016 – 2018) is a por­trait of the artist’s for­mer sec­ondary school art teacher, Joanne Sal­ley. The video depicts the many faces of Joanne and address­es issues around rep­re­sen­ta­tions of women in the age of social media, tabloid press and consumerism.

Sal­ley, win­ner of the 1998 Miss North­ern Ire­land beau­ty pageant, artist, teacher and cham­pi­on box­er had a for­ma­tive influ­ence on Fuji­wara, nur­tur­ing his cre­ative tal­ents as a schol­ar­ship stu­dent at the pres­ti­gious Har­row School for boys. Some years after his depar­ture, Sal­ley found her­self at the cen­tre of a dam­ag­ing tabloid scan­dal after stu­dents dis­cov­ered and cir­cu­lat­ed top­less pho­tographs of her that had been tak­en pri­vate­ly. The media cam­paign that fol­lowed played on stereo­types of women to sup­port the sen­sa­tion­al head­lines, tar­nish­ing her rep­u­ta­tion as a teacher and pub­lic persona.

Five years on, Fuji­wara and Sal­ley embarked on the pro­duc­tion of a short film that explores the issues she faced in the wake of the scan­dal, to present a more com­plex pic­ture of her. In the course of the film, view­ers fol­low the pair as they meet with pro­fes­sion­als from fash­ion, adver­tis­ing and PR who advise them along their jour­ney. Employ­ing var­i­ous media – from iPhone videos released on Insta­gram and oth­er social media plat­forms, to high-end fash­ion pho­tographs – they orches­trate a new pub­lic image for Joanne’.

The film is accom­pa­nied in the gallery space by a large-scale light-box, fea­tur­ing images of Joanne cre­at­ed in col­lab­o­ra­tion with acclaimed fash­ion pho­tog­ra­ph­er Andreas Lars­son. The exhi­bi­tion exam­ines com­mon­ly used mar­ket­ing strate­gies that con­struct and shape the con­tem­po­rary iconog­ra­phy of women. Nuanced by the long­stand­ing per­son­al rela­tion­ship between artist and muse, Fujiwara’s film offers an uncon­ven­tion­al por­trait that seem­ing­ly unmasks a com­plex and mul­ti­fac­eted per­son whose pub­lic iden­ti­ty has been defined by a sin­gle, unau­tho­rised image.


Simon Fuji­wara (b. 1982, UK) is known for his auto­bi­o­graph­i­cal explo­rations of iden­ti­ty and sex­u­al­i­ty. His com­plex instal­la­tions incor­po­rate sculp­ture, per­for­mance, video and pho­to­graph­ic ele­ments to cre­ate ful­ly imag­ined sce­nar­ios that under­score the inter­de­pen­dence of per­son­al his­to­ry and more uni­ver­sal nar­ra­tives. Fuji­wara stud­ied Archi­tec­ture at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty from 2002 to 2005, and then Fine Art at the Städelschule Hochschule für Bildende Kun­st in Frank­furt am Main from 2006 to 2008. He par­tic­i­pat­ed in sev­er­al recent bien­ni­als includ­ing the Venice Bien­nale, 2009; Man­i­fes­ta 8 and São Paulo Bien­ni­al in 2010; Sin­ga­pore Bien­ni­al, Man­ches­ter Inter­na­tion­al Fes­ti­val and Per­for­ma, New York, all 2011; Shar­jah Bien­ni­al, 2013; Istan­bul Bien­ni­al, 2019. He held recent solo exhi­bi­tions at Galeries Lafayette Cor­po­rate Foun­da­tion, 2018; Kun­sthalle Düs­sel­dorf, 2016; Irish Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, 2016; Tate St. Ives, 2012; and the Stoschek Col­lec­tion, Düs­sel­dorf, 2010.


Pre­sent­ed by Pho­to Aus­tralia for PHO­TO 2021


Sup­port­ed by the British Council

Images

Simon Fuji­wara

Joanne, 2016 – 2018
Instal­la­tion: free-stand­ing light­box, video projection
Dimen­sions variable
Dura­tion 12:06 min (video)
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery
Pre­sent­ed by Pho­to Aus­tralia for PHO­TO 2021
Sup­port­ed by the British Council
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Simon Fuji­wara

Joanne, 2016 – 2018
Instal­la­tion: free-stand­ing light­box, video projection
Dimen­sions variable
Dura­tion 12:06 min (video)
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery
Pre­sent­ed by Pho­to Aus­tralia for PHO­TO 2021
Sup­port­ed by the British Council
Pho­to: Zan Wimberley

Simon Fuji­wara

Joanne, 2016 – 2018
(video still) Free-stand­ing light­box with dig­i­tal print on foil; video projection
Dimen­sions variable
Dura­tion 12:06 min (video)
Com­mis­sioned by FVU, The Photographers’
Gallery and Ishikawa Foundation
Sup­port­ed by Arts Coun­cil England