||Whitechapel Gallery’s major programme of artists’ commissions, The Street, presents Shimabuku
Whitechapel presents the latest in a year-long series of artists’ commissions taking place on and around Wentworth Street, the home of Petticoat Lane market, East London. From 17 July, Berlin-based artist Shimabuku creates a new commission inspired by local businesses. Titled Album, it incorporates previous works alongside a new work created in response to the area.
Originally from Japan, Shimabuku works with places and people to create humorous and playful works about everyday life. Working across a variety of formats, he excavates myths, traditions and hidden histories and revives them in contemporary culture. When the artist first visited Wentworth Street, he was struck by an immediate sense of familiarity. It reminded him of many places he has visited and artworks he had made, It began to read like an album, a book or record of experiences where memories are compiled. He makes these experiences public by showing a selection of his previous works in two of the sites that triggered associations.
The first venue, Bankete, is a Brazilian Café on Bell Lane, off Wentworth Street. Here the artist has installed a neon sign advertising Sakepirinha, a Japanese-Brazilian cocktail that will be served throughout the exhibition’s duration. Invented by the sizable Japanese community in Sao Paulo, Sakepirinha has long been estabilished as a popular drink in Brazil yet is unknown in Europe. By introducing the drink to London, Shimabuku extends its cross-cultural origins further.
Also displayed in Bankete is a two screen video installation, Asking the Repentistas- Peneira & Sonhador – to remix my octopus works, that Shimabuku created for the Sao Paulo Biennial 2006. The work combines a film made in 2001 in which he gives an octopus a tour of Tokyo, with an improvised performance by two Brazilian street singers. Bankete will also exhibit a photograph showing a tradition that accompanies the end of summer in Rio de Janeiro.
The second venue is Cafe Vernasca, an Italian café on Wentworth Street. Café Vernasca will exhibit a video work of Shimabuku fishing for octopi using a traditional Japanese method. Filmed in 2003 in Albisola, Italy, he is accompanied by an incredulous fisherman and an excitable cameraman, who voice-over the film in Italian.
Shimabuku also plans to take up residence in Wentworth Street and make a new work. This will be an extention of his existing cardboard box series in which he charts the experiences of a cardboard box as it travels around the world. He is planning to create a family tree of the cardboard boxes that congregate in Wentworth Street, and will install a monumental cardboard box outside The Shop, The Street Project Headquarters.
A programme of live workshops and events will take place with local residents throughout the artist’s stay. The first of these events will take place at East End Community School on 19 July, where the artist will lead workshops with 30 students, aged 5-13 years old. Together they will create a companion for the distinctive ‘King Octopus’ who adorns a mural on the outside of their school.
The Street is supported by JPMorgan through the JPMorgan Art of Learning programme and The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Notes for Editors
• Shimabuku was born in Kobe, Japan, in 1969. He studied at the Osaka College of Art in Osaka, Japan, followed by the San Franscisco Art Institute. He has exhibited in large scale group and solo exhibitions internationally and exhibited in the Venice Biennale, 2003, Liverpool Biennial, 2006 and the Sao Paulo Biennial, 2006. Most recently he exhibited in Laughing in a Foreign Language, The Hayward Gallery, London, 2008; All Our Everydays, Gallery VER, Bangkok, 2008 and Blooming: Brazil-Japan, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan 2008. The artist has been based in Berlin since 2004.
• Forthcoming artist’s commissions for The Street include Jens Haaning, 11 September – 2 November 2008; Henry VIII’s Wives, 6 November 2008 – 4 January 2009; Minerva Cuevas, 8 January – 1 March 2009. The final artist’s commission for The Street will be exhibited at the Whitechapel Gallery as its major expansion opens in Spring 2009.
• The Street is generously supported by The JPMorgan Foundation and The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous.
The Street – Opening Event and Talk
17 July, 6.30 - 9, The Shop, Toynbee Street, London E1
To mark the opening of his commission, artist Shimabuku will give a tour of the Wentworth Street area and talk about his new commission, Album.
The Shop, The Street Project Headquarters, 26-28 Toynbee St, London, E1.
Open Weds – Sun, 11am – 6pm
For further press information and images for please contact:
Elizabeth Flanagan on 020 7522 7871 or email ElizabethFlanagan@whitechapel.org