Simon Fujiwara, SS Delirium, 2020, mixed media, 86 5⁄8 × 32 1⁄4 × 66 7⁄8".

Simon Fujiwara, SS Delirium, 2020, mixed media, 86 5⁄8 × 32 1⁄4 × 66 7⁄8".

Simon Fujiwara

Dvir Gallery | Brussels

Disease, when it flares, arouses our animal hunger and fear of touch. Simon Fujiwara’s prescient exhibition “A Conquest” plumbed his intimate ordeal with syphilis. The infection had been all but eradicated until a recent resurgence, when users of PrEP, a combination of antiviral medications that protects against HIV, found themselves contracting STIs instead. Across continents and centuries, syphilitic eruptions have been used to justify greater regulation of bodies and sexual expression. In rejoinder, Fujiwara staged his own illness and recovery as a fanciful adventure tale–cum–fever dream with the artist cast as hero. Against a backdrop of antipathy and shame, his story becomes one of defiant sexual exuberance.

Fujiwara unabashedly bends history’s wide arc in the service of personal narrative. His epic begins in 1492, when Christopher Columbus’s three caravels supposedly transported the

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