Simon Wald-Lasowski at TTHQ

Artist: Simon Wald-Lasowski

Exhibition title: To Glide In On A Shrimp Sandwich

Venue: TTHQ, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Date: February 7 – March 6, 2020

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and TTHQ, Rotterdam

The world of Simon Wald-Lasowski

Our first encounter with Simon Wald-Lasowski (Paris, 1980) happened on a ghostly night market in Beijing. During his residency in China last year, he stumbled upon an old tradition of the wealthy Chinese upperclass. Those in financial trouble had to secretly sell their precious heirlooms in order to earn some money. Of course, this couldn’t be seen by anyone, or there would be great loss of face. It happened in the night, at the outskirts of the city with lanterns in the dark. Nowadays, the lanterns are replaced by bright USB flashlights and the sold items aren’t only Chinese antiques but every other curiosities one can think of – from fake tiger paws to tiny turtles. The tradition still exists, adapted to the present times.

We couldn’t think of a more suitable place to meet Simon. He walked around so enthusiastically, haggling for a leather whip one moment and taking photographs of accidental compositions of the displayed objects the next instant. In this overload of goods, it could be hard to find the hidden gems, but being with Simon this suddenly felt so easy. This meticulous eyes of his is something we greatly appreciate. His collected seemingly unconnected oddities and through d.i.y modifications and assemblages stages these as actors in immersive installations.

The video Dusting Off / Shiny Nails (4K, 16 min, 2018) restages Tacita Dean’s 2011 Manhattan Mouse Museum. The 16mm film can only be exhibited in strict viewing conditions and is unavailable online. It takes a glimpse into the world of artist Claes Oldenburg as he tends to an assembly of small rarities, objects and artworks. Simon based his ‘re-imagined’ version on a few still images of the film, thereby aiming to channel the tender and intimate attention Claes Oldenburg exhibited towards his objects by interacting with his own personal collection of curiosities.

It seems Simon could practice animism – the belief where inanimate objects can become sentient. Being with Simon, we wouldn’t be surprised if Greta the Gremlin would come alive, jumping off the curtain, becoming a massage salon owner, impatiently waiting with the crab chair for her first customer.

We’re happy to welcome you in Simon’s universe, and remember: people who slip on a shrimp sandwich will not be as successful in the long run as those who first fail.

TTHQ is an initiative of Team Thursday and Koen Taselaar.