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 doesnt 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.
Simon Fujiwara, born in London in 1982, spent his childhood moving between Japan, Europe, and Africa. He studied at the University of Cambridge and Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.
Working often in collaboration with others in the telling of supposedly personal stories, Fujiwaras work explores the concept of the contemporary individual self-determined, self-narrativised, unique and presents a highly contingent notion of the self that can only be defined through the participation of others.
Fujiwara has had solo exhibitions at Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto (2011), Tate St Ives (2012), Tokyo Opera City Gallery (2015), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2016), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2016), and Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv (2017), amongst others. His work has been presented in various group exhibitions, including Storylines, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015), and Un Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2014). He was represented at the 53th Venice Biennale (2009), São Paulo Biennial (2010), Shanghai Biennial (2012), Sharjah Biennial (2013), and Berlin Biennale (2016).