Named “The 165-metre Mermaid and Other Stories”, this exhibition is a retrospective of Japonese artist Shimabuku, on display at the New National Museum of Monaco. It will be open from the 19 February at their Villa Paloma location.

Wanderlust… the health crisis has made this desire to escape to foreign lands and explore the world’s beauty stronger now than ever before. Based on a medieval Japonese legend, The 165-metre Mermaid and Other Stories” exhibition will transport viewers to another time and place. According to the organisers, it brings Shimabuku’s adventures, stories and encounters to life “in the form of an epic poem,” with strong references to the underwater world, which has played a huge role in the artist’s life.

From sun-soaked days to blue ocean waters, Shimabuku’s works take meaning from the simple moments in life. Much of his inspiration comes from Japan, where he was born, but also from countries, such as Brazil and Monaco, where he has spent time travelling. During the exhibition, a wide variety of his works from the last 30 years will be on display, including sculptures, photographs, films and installations.

The story behind the 165-metre mermaid

His creative journey began on the Japanese island of Kyūshū, where he discovered a mermaid’s body, measuring 165 metres in length. Hoping to keep this legend alive, he bought a piece of rope, also measuring exactly 165 metres. Ever since then, this rope has accompanied him on all his globe-trotting adventures, allowing him to remain close to the mermaid and forge a permanent link between the past and present.

Acquired in 2018, the installation “I’m travelling with a 165-metre Mermaid” gave the New National Museum of Monaco a starting point for this year’s exhibition, which will be “enriched by the presence of artefacts produced in Monaco by different craftspeople invited in turn to make this story into a work of their own.”

The 165-metre Mermaid and Other Stories” exhibition, from 19 February to 3 October 2021 at the Villa Paloma – NMNM – 56 boulevard du Jardin Exotique, Monaco