SHIMABUKU: The 165-metre Mermaid and Other Stories at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Villa Paloma, February 19 – October 3, 2021

“The exhibition The 165-metre Mermaid and Other Stories stems from a mediaeval Japanese legend and unfurls in the manner of an epic poem. It tells of the artist’s adventures and encounters as he goes with the flow, roving between his native Japan and Monaco via Brazil, Australia and many other lands. Freely combining performance, land art, music and cooking, Shimabuku’s poetic actions are forever spinning new tales. His texts, which form the narrative thread of the exhibition, interweave installations, films, sculptures and photographs executed over the past thirty years.

On a visit to Fukuoka he discovered the legend and relics of a mermaid whose body was 165 metres long and decided to expand it, buying a rope also 165 metres long. Taken around the world, this rope brings him closer to the fish-woman and becomes a vector linking fiction to reality, past to present and Japan to the different countries where the work is presented. Acquired by the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco in 2018, the installation I’m travelling with 165-metre Mermaid (1998–ongoing) forms the starting point for the exhibition and is enriched by the presence of artefacts produced in Monaco by different craftspeople invited in turn to make this story into a work of their own.” — Nouveau Musée National de Monaco

Shimabuku. Je voyage avec une sirène de 165 mètres (I’m travelling with 165-metre Mermaid), 1998 – ongoing. Enamel plate (detail of installation). Produced in Sydney, Australie, 1998. 39,5 x 55 cm. Collection NMNM, n° 2019.4.1.8.
© Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Je voyage avec une sirène de 165 mètres (I’m travelling with 165-metre Mermaid), 1998 – ongoing. Watercolor on paper (detail of installation). Drawing by Shimabuku, Sydney, Australie, 1998 75 x 104 cm. Collection NMNM, n° 2019.4.1.7 © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Je voyage avec une sirène de 165 mètres (I’m travelling with 165-metre Mermaid), 1998 – ongoing. 165 meters of cord on its reel (detail of installation). Reel: 29 x ø 42 cm. Collection NMNM, n° 2019.4.1.12 © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuk. Je voyage avec une sirène de 165 mètres (I’m travelling with 165-metre Mermaid) 1998 – ongoing. Marqueterie (detail of installation). Artisan : Catot Olivier, Atelier La Sève, Marseille, 1998. 57 x 46 cm. Collection NMNM, n° 2019.4.1.3 © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Je voyage avec une sirène de 165 mètres (I’m travelling with 165-metre Mermaid), 1998 – ongoing. Cholotate egg (detail of installation). Drawing by Shimabuku, made in Marseille, 1999. 42 cm x ø 28 cm. Collection NMNM, n° 2019.4.1.10 © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Ériger (Erect), 2017-2018. Installation view. Reborn-Art Festival, Oshika peninsula, Ishinomaki, Japon, 2017 © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Ériger (Erect) , 2017-2018. Installation view. Reborn-Art Festival, Oshika peninsula, Ishinomaki, Japon, 2017 © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Symbiose – poisson rouge et hyacinthe (Symbiose – gold fish and hyacinth), 1992. Cibachrome print mounted on aluminium, 70 x 47,5 cm. Edition de 5. © Shimabuku. Photographic credit: Marc Domage. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville
Shimabuku. Sculpture pour pieuvres : à la recherche de leurs couleurs favorites (Sculpture for Octopuses: Exploring for Their Favorite Colors) , 2010. 12 glass balls, digital print, text on card, wooden pedestal and Plexiglass top. 98 x 80 x 55 cm. Collection FRAC Franche-Comté, Besançon © Shimabuku. Photographic credit: Blaise Adilon. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.
Shimabuku. Le Voyage du Concombre (Cucumber Journey), 2000. Tirage C-print encadré / Frames C-print (outside installation), 66x150x5cm © Shimabuku. Courtesy the artist and Air de Paris, Romainville.

“Placing things upright. Placing the lying things upright. Placing the trees and stones that lie on the beach upright. With the collaboration of many people, we will place many things in an upright position. We will try to put our energy together to place huge trees as well in an upright position. This should make something that lies in our hearts stand up in an upright position.”  — Shimabuku

Exhibition was curated by Célia Bernasconi.

Images courtesy Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.