Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist
By Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva for Contemporânea
January 23, 2020
As an artist whose oeuvre often likes to style itself in a self-deprecating fashion, Trevor Shimizu’s works in Trevor Shimizu: Performance Artist at Kunsthalle Lissabon have a remarkably droll interest in the life of the artiste. The exhibition has the many attributes of a small retrospective, with a historical perspective spanning a period from 1996 to 2019. Still, none of the abounding autobiographical references are particularly flattering—or fault finding for that matter—but they do strike a clever balance between showing a heartfelt approach to making art and pursuing it as a career and not letting it become a means of (self)admiration.
Opening the show on the ground floor is the video Memoir (2005), essentially a text-only slideshow where viewers learn about Shimizu’s environmentally conscious and hippie-influenced upbringing in Northern California, contextualised by a ubiquitous dairy industry, some troubled characters and where Bodega Bay is both the location of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Shimizu’s once drug hangout spot. Shimizu’s resort to candid storytelling and anecdotal observations sets a poetic and humane tone to the whole exhibition, making it relatable for a viewer unfamiliar with his background.