In his travels Shimabuku collects site-specific facts or customs that are unfamiliar to the outsider, but too familiar to local people to be noticed. During a research trip he discovered the unused and forgotten roof space of the Artsonje Centre, Korea where he was invited to do a project and was intrigued by the different perspective he gained from that vantage point. Inspired by this experience, he started to think about treating the museum as a mountain, with its roof as its peak. The artist invited exhibition staff to ‘climb’ to this peak to watch the sunrise together; an unexpected and a fresh experience for the people who work at the museum. As typical opening receptions or art events are held in the afternoon or evening, the artist thought it might be valuable to try the morning, a moment of free time and free space in our daily lives. He asked people to gather at 5:30am. Reflecting on the simple aesthetics of old customs, such as how Asian people eat round cakes during a full moon, a special chef was invited to join the morning hike and cook shiny cutlass fish on the museum rooftop at the shiniest time of day. Then using the cutlass fish as the mirror of a heliograph the artist tried to communicate with beings unknown. Through such studies of communicative and aesthetic traditions Shimabuku hopes to find a way to create new languages and customs.
A Landscape, Wilkinson Gallery, London, 2017
Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel, 57th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2017