Exhibition title: Cuban Samba
Venue: Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid, Spain
Date: May 7 – July 30, 2016
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid
NoguerasBlanchard is pleased to announce the fourth solo exhibition in the gallery by Shimabuku (Kobe, 1969). Recently presented during the Havana Biennial the installation Cuban Samba was the starting point for this new multi-channel video work Cuban Samba Remix. Communication and engagement with the audience is a key feature of Shimabuku’s artistic practice and it takes shape here through music. This exhibition points to the artist’s concern with the details of everyday life and highlights the natural rhythm of our environment with an attitude of valuing coincidence and improvisation.
Shimabuku first visited Brazil in 1999 at the invitation of Helmut Batista to participate in a residency programme in Rio de Janeiro. From then on the country would reappear in his work through his participation in the XXVII Bienal de São Paulo with Asking the Repentistas -Peneira & Sonhador-to Remix my Octopus Works (2006); in the form of a Sakepirinha cocktail at the Whitechapel Gallery in London; or reflecting Brazilian bossa-nova pioneer João Gilberto’s music taking place in the bathroom in Tomato Dipper (2008). What is presented in the gallery, as suggested by the exhibition’s title, is the confluence between the artist’s first contact with Cuba and his ongoing relationship with Brazil.
Most of Shimabuku’s artworks are inspired by chance encounters or discoveries, the journey being central to his working process. The artist’s approach is based on traveling to new places and finding new ways to connect disparate groups within a community through stories, myths and local customs. Often, as seen in Shimabuku ‘s Fish and Chips (2012) he proposes unexpected encounters between disparate objects or like Sunrise at Mt. Artsonje (2008) creates a shared language between people of different countries. Shimabuku often turns art into a game where emphasis is placed on the participatory role of the viewer, often spontaneous, both inside and outside the art institution .
The site-specific installation presented in Havana was inspired by a huge water leak Shimabuku encountered in the exhibition space and consisted of some old cans of different sizes placed under the leaking pipe. The rhythmic sound of the drops falling on the tin cans resembled a samba and as characteristic in his work, engages with the concept of chance through unexpected poetic associations. After recording a video of the installation as surreal as it was Duchampian, Shimabuku traveled to Rio where he invited musicians Kassin and Arto Lindsay to make a remix. Cuban Samba Remix is a video installation: the smaller screen showing the cans and the other two, portraits of the musicians during the performance of this noise pop song.
Cuban Samba is a reflection on communication and language based on an economy of means anchored in Conceptual art. In the artist’s words: “Conceptual art is often perceived as a purely intellectual pursuit. But I became aware of the possibility of making art from my heart. I try to think with my heart. I think about conceptual art that’s like music and can resonate with your feelings”