b. 1969, Kobe, Japan; lives and works in Okinawa, Japan.
Shimabuku works with video, photography, sculpture, installation, and performance to observe, collect and ruminate on unusual encounters on his travels. As a young boy, he wanted to become a poet or tourist guide and this early desire for a kind of social and human interaction is evident in his approach to making art. In gathering stories, customs and myths which he observes and collects on his journeys, he takes on the role of a flaneur-cum-social geographer-cum-Candide-like figure (the central character of Voltaire’s 1759 novel Candide, ou l'Optimisme, where Candide confronts the realities of life on his journey away from a sheltered upbringing). Shimabuku similarly travels the world, interacting with strangers and nature in poetic, humorous ways, creating bridges between the specificities of different cultures and localities. Each of his works tells a story of these improbable encounters across borders, species, and states of being.
Shimabuku's recent solo exhibitions include Sculptures for an octopus - What colour does an octopus like?, Suma Aqualife Park in Kobe (2019); For Octopuses, Monkeys and Men, Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry - le Crédac (2018); Bow to Bow, Amanda Wilkinson Gallery, London (2018); Galerie Barbara Wien, Vienna (2017); Exchange a mobile phone for a stone tool, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2015); Flying me, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (2014); Something that Floats / Something that Sinks, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2013); My Teacher Tortoise, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2011); Shimbuku, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, (2009); Shimabuku’s Fish & Chips, Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona (2008); Wilkinson Gallery, London; DAAD Galerie, Berlin (2007); and Then, I decided to give a tour of Tokyo to the octopus from Akashi, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2002). Group exhibitions include The Imaginary Sea, Villa Carmignac - Porquerolles island (2021); Amuse-bouche: The Taste of Art, Museum Tinguely Basel (2020); Sensing Nature From Within, Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden (2019); Playmode, MAAT Museu de Arte, Arquitectura e Tecnologia | Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon (2019); Animals & Us, Turner Contemporary, Kent (2018); Reborn Art Festival Touhoku Oshika, Miyagi (2017); 57th Venice Biennale Viva Arte Viva curated by Christine Macel, Venice (2017); FOOD–Ecologies of the Everyday, Triennale Kleinplastik Fellbach 2016 (2016); Ecce Homo, The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2016); Mountains with a Broken Edge, Biennial de la Havana (2015); Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah (2013); Impossible Community, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2011); and Laughing in a Foreign Language, The Hayward Gallery, London (2009).
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