Artist: Simon Fujiwara
Venue: Kunsthaus Bregenz
Exhibition Title: Hope House
Date: January 27 – March 4, 2018
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Kunsthaus Bregenz
The project isn’t a parody of capitalism, it shows capitalism.
Hope House is a full-scale replica of the Anne Frank House Museum reconstructed within the Kunsthaus Bregenz. A building within a building, a museum within a museum, the ambitious installation takes its inspiration from a ‘build your own’ model kit of the Anne Frank House Fujiwara bought in the museum gift shop in Amsterdam.
For the first time, we can experience the Anne Frank House as a giant sculpture, split across three floors of the Kunsthaus Bregenz. Just as in the original house, visitors will wind through the narrow dimly lit corridors, pass through a replica of the moveable bookcase that hid the Frank family from the persecution by the National Socialists, and enter into the confined spaces of the Secret Annex.
But at Hope House, something is different: The walls are hung with artworks and the rooms filled with objects and artifacts from everyday life — a desk, a diary and pen, a bedroom wall plastered with posters. In the attic, cat food is scattered across the wooden floor but there is no cat and nobody seems to live there anymore. What will the visitor take from this experience? Are we confronting tragic historical events of the past, or a mirror to the world we live in today, where nothing is any longer as it seems? In sharp contrast to the solid, cool, minimalist architecture of the Kunsthaus, Hope House does not attempt to present itself as a real architectural experience, and certainly not the Anne Frank House experience. It is the copy of a copy based on a product sold on the free market, and it makes no pretense of this.
On visiting the Anne Frank House, Fujiwara learned that much of the original house has been reconstructed for historical effect. Yet, this doesn‘t seem to affect the real emotional power of the experience for the millions of visitors that return each year. Why?
Fujiwara picks up these contradictions in an extremely precise and sensitive manner; his universe is populated with complex and perverse narratives that form a highly unique practice encompassing video, installation, sculpture, and performance. For Fujiwara it is our desire for fantasy beyond authenticity, beyond even truth, that allows the most cherished part of our humanity to flourish — compassion, creativity, and idealism.
Welcome to Hope House, welcome home.