Shimabuku, Kaki and Tomato, 2008 / Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville
Shimabuku: Me, We
May 6 – Sep 3, 2023
Bolzano, Italy

From May 6 to September 3, 2023, Museion presents the largest overview show of the work of Shimabuku (*1969, Kobe, Japan) in Europe and his first museum solo show in Italy. Shimabuku’s cross-disciplinary art offers a subtle, curious, and humorous approach to the world. His works originate from a private moment of wonder, like an idea, a desired encounter, or a poem. Through his interaction with his surroundings, intimacy becomes public as the artist enacts his thoughts. Ultimately, his photographic, filmic, and sculptural memories of these encounters act as a public declaration in the exhibition space. Hence, Shimabuku successfully captures the affinity between animals, landscapes, histories, ideas, and people as he unfolds unexpected and fleeting moments of sharing and mirroring.

This exhibition, entitled Shimabuku: Me, We, draws inspiration from a saying by the world-famous boxer and activist Muhammad Ali, which is often considered to be the shortest poem in the world and a relationship in itself.

The exhibition will showcase a variety of artworks dating from the early 90s up until today, as well as pieces produced especially for this context. The visitors will encounter a retrospective “flow of episodes”, without a linear chronology, and a thematic combination between existing and new productions. Central to this selection is the pairing of different entities, such as objects, animals, fruit, histories, and global geographies. Shimabuku’s aesthetic vision blurs the lines between these subjects, creating a sense of mutual magnification. In Shimabuku’s realm, there is no polarity between inside and outside; instead, he seeks to explore the interactions between the two.

One of the highlights of the exhibition is Me, We (2023), a large sculptural installation produced in collaboration with the Fondazione Antonio Dalle Nogare, Bolzano, and Ex-Montecatini (ex-Solland Silicon), Merano and created from building materials taken from the Mauracherhof and Ex-Montecatini (ex-Solland Silicon). In this installation, two buildings with very different cultural backgrounds, both of which are currently being demolished or structurally renovated, are joined together by the artist. The Mauracherhof was built in 1278, while the Ex-Montecatini (ex-Solland Silicon) dates back to the period of Italianization in the 1920s. Just like Me, We (2023) the artist gives these different histories a common meaning and a future life as a work of art.

Another new artwork displayed in the exhibition is Bed Peace (2023), a sculpture of a bed with two figures lying next to each other, made from the soil of different South Tyrolean valleys.

Exclusively for this exhibition, the artist has also developed, together with Mutina, a special art edition piece. This edition is part of the Mutina for Art project, organized by this well-known company specialized in high-end designer ceramics, to support contemporary artists. The exhibition is also a direct result of Mutina’s This is Not a Prize award that was won by Shimabuku in 2019 due to the unique character of his artistic language and his multi-faceted and generous imagination. Since then, Mutina has built a close relationship with Museion to support Shimabuku and his exhibition as its main sponsor.

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