Simon Fujiwara reflects these developments by making us observers of, and participants in, different situations in a carefully planned dramatic composition. We enter a waiting area, just like the ones that we encounter in everyday life. We draw a number. There are places to sit and a water dispenser, and free Wi-Fi is available. Several editions of Fifty Shades of Grey lie on the table. In each copy, a bookmark marks the place where the two protagonists in the story freely enter into a sadomasochistic relationship and sign a contract governing it. The work points to the fact that, day in, day out, we consciously surrender ourselves to the internet and in particular to social media. It is also a comment on the contradictions in our society: its liberal and democratic values are at odds with what is idealised and eroticised in the novel, which was much criticised as misogynistic and pro-capitalist. Against this backdrop, the novel’s enormous success has been a source of preoccupation for Simon Fujiwara. During his research, he found out that so many copies of the novel had been given to the charity Oxfam that it begged people to stop donating it. The donated copies were impossible to sell, but they could not be recycled either because the glue in the binding turned out to be toxic. Thousands of books were left suspended in a kind of limbo, without any possible way in which they could be used. The artist decided to buy all of Oxfam’s stock and use it for his work in order to create a framework for reflection on this chain of paradoxes.
Simon Fujiwara grew up in Japan, Spain and the UK. He studied architecture at the University of Cambridge and fine arts at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. The artist’s work is represented in numerous international collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Tate in London. He was the recipient of the 2010 Baloise Prize at Art Basel and the 2010 Frieze Cartier Award and a nominee of the prestigious Preis der Nationalgalerie in 2019.