Production residency from 19 Feb to 10 Mar 2014
8 years and 5 months ago
Simon Fujiwara examines the tension between fiction and reality, the past and present, as well as personal memories and global history. Invited to produce a new work for the 5th edition of the Centre Pompidou’s Nouveau festival, the artist proposed to initiate the first residency programme at Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette and to set up a studio at 9 rue du Plâtre where he explored and produced New Pompidou.
A sculpture, performance and film, the piece arose from the rumour that Pontus Hultén wanted to build a replica of the Centre Pompidou. Since the eighties when this desire is said to have germinated, the daydream has found its way to Simon Fujiwara. The artist, a trained architect, shares a particular history with the building constructed on the Marais in 1977. When he discovered the work of Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini during a class trip, the apprentice-builder was not only struck, but crushed by the structure’s grandeur.
At that moment he swore he would never become an architect, stole a rose from the Centre Pompidou terrace, dried it and preserved it as a testimony to his vow of chastity.In the empty building of Lafayette Anticipations, before its renovation, and a few metres from this thwarted romance, Fujiwara broke his promise. He understood that with his rose the immensity of the Centre Pompidou had faded, and decided to present his vision in a single work, a pot-pourri, a shrine to Paris, to the Marais, to love and architecture mixed with intimate memories.
New Pompidou is a plaster sculpture, moulded on a gerberette, a steel element inspired by the German engineer Heinrich Gerber (1832-1912) which precisely articulates the Centre Pompidou’s structure. This surprising, gargoyle, phallic form, a jewel of industry, acts, for Fujiwara, as a sarcophagus for the petals of his forgotten rose.The artist needed eight weeks to flesh out the rumour of a new Centre, situated in the imagination of its legendary and late Swedish director.
The imminent resurrection of this New Pompidou celebrates the death of a Paris which is no more, of a dissipated knowledge, a vanished history, a love that has been extinguished…a little death carried in procession on the evening of Saint Valentine’s day. Simon Fujiwara chose to move his work from the Foundation to the Nouveau Festival gallery on the 14th of February. After giving a performance, in deathly silence, in his fragile workshop, the artist had the plaster mass carried in Wagner brass. Stumbling trumpets, his gerberette, part fossil or paleontological discovery, memorable bones, a dead and living organ, left the marshlands so as to be able to better return to it.