When I visited the monkey mountain in Kyoto in 1992, I heard an interesting story.
In 1972, a group of Japanese snow monkeys were brought from the mountains of Kyoto to a Texas desert. The first year, their numbers reduced dramatically. They didn’t know how to live in the desert with cactus, cougars or rattlesnakes. But in the second year, their population grew. Do monkeys adapt to new environments faster than people do? I wanted to go and meet them someday.
In 2016, I finally visited them in Texas. I saw that they looked a bit Americanized, somehow. They are a bit bigger, and started to eat cactus. Now they know how to deal with the cougars and rattlesnakes. They have a new language to alert each other.
When I spent few days with them under the Texan sun, I decided to make a mountain with ice for them. I filled a car full of ice bags. And I wondered, do they remember snow mountains?
The Snow Monkeys of Texas is SHIMABUKU‘s (b. 1969, Kobe, Japan) first solo exhibition in the U.S. Selected solo exhibitions include: Cuban Samba, Nogueras Blanchard, Madrid (2016); Exchange A Mobile Phone For A Stone Tool, Wilkinson Gallery, London (2015); When Sky was Sea, Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery; Sea and Flowers, Barbara Wien, Berlin; City in the Sea, Air de Paris, Paris; Flying Me, Kunsthalle Bern (2014); Something that Floats / Something that Sinks, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Noto, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2013); Man should try to avoid contact with alien life forms, Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’Île de Vassivière, Vassivière; On the Water, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2011); New Works, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2009); Swansea Jack Memorial Dog Swimming Competition, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea (2003).
He has participated in numerous group exhibitions at such institutions as: Ballroom Marfa; Havana Bienniale (2015); Taipei Biennial (2014); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Tate St. Ives; Nottingham Contemporary; Sharjah Biennial 11; Musée d’art contemporain, Marseille (2013); Frac Île de France – Le Plateau, Paris (2012); Moscow Museum of Modern Art; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; International Triennale of Cont- emporary Art, Yokohama (2011); Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2009); Centre d’Art Contemporain, Genève; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (2008); Artsonje Center, Seoul (2007); 27th Bienal de São Paulo; Liverpool Biennial (2006); Musee d‘Art Contemporain, Lyon (2004); 50th Venice Biennale (2003); Hayward Gallery, London (2001); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000); Witte de With, Rotterdam (1999); 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998), among many others.
With special thanks to: Tim Ajax and the staff of Born Free USA