Who is Puzzled? (Therapy)
Charcoal, pastel, and inkjet print on paper
66,7 x 53,6 x 3,5 cm (26 1/4 x 21 1/8 x 1 3/8 in)
The work superimposes a drawing of Who on Sigmund Freud’s famous couch, reconstructed in the Freud Museum in London. One “missing” puzzle piece, taken from the figure’s lower torso, hovers above the representation, recalling a thought bubble in a cartoon and here perhaps also representing Who’s identity and gender explorations.
Simon Fujiwara’s project Who the Baer was developed during the lockdown in the spring of 2020. The artist created a unique cartoon character in the form of a denim wearing bear with a golden heart and an uncontrollably long tongue, that seemingly has no gender, race, sexuality or even a clear design. Without an identity, Who exists only as an image, a status that allows them the freedom to roam a world of online images, appropriating characters, identities, aesthetics and guises in a greedy search for a ‘self’.
Fujiwara’s existential cartoon character oscillates between subject and symbol, being and thing and is a tool for the artist to investigate cultural anxieties around identity and its relationship to the performativity of image culture. Through Who the Baer, Fujiwara explores complex topics using the reductive logic of the cartoon universe to expose the normalizing power of the capitalist image culture we inhabit.