EIKO
ISHIZAWA




The Great Sleeping Bear



Imitation fur, rubber, textile
2008



This work was inspired by the news in South Germany in 2006,  when I was questioning about the borderline between the reality and the illusions.
 
 The news was about first wild bear appeared in Bavarian Alps since 170 years. He was called for two names, “ a problem bear” or “ Bruno”. He was originally habitant in the nature reserve in Italy. But he started to explore new lands, crossed a few borderlines of countries. This evoked huge discussion in public and government in Bavaria. One group loved this bear, but the other group was afraid and wanted him to be  hunted. After some time of confusions, in the end, this bear was decided to be hunted down, and he was killed.

Within this tragic story, I was interested in such variations of emotions and perceptions that had determined the reality, and they are projected of on a single just bear, who just crossed the “borderlines” , wherein the animal worlds do not matter.

This story depicted for me  what it means of “ crossing the borderlines”, which are  metaphors of various  borderlines like between  nature and civilizations, being sane and  insane, borderlines of countries.. etc.

With such thoughts, this work leaves  hints of awarenesses that wheather things are  truth or not, it is often depending on the consequences of being either minorities and majorities in our society.

By creating this work in  a figure of a typical look of realistic “a bear” in the image of people, I wnated  to recreate the starting point of illusion for the viewer who encounters with this work. In fact, the person who wears this work becomes together with a bear as one, there I wonder how the viewers will imagine the story.. : the hunter killed the bear and wearing the bear skin, the bear is eating a human, or just a huge bear is sleeping… Through this work, I would like to insert the fantasy and illusion in our reality.



This work got viral on the internet since 2009, it has been featured on countless websites and magazines, and offered by presenting several renowned international TV programs in US and Japan. Since then it gets attentions back every 2-3 years. As a creator, I feel very much unexpected at the time, but I feel well pleased to this phenomenon that many people could get to see and inspired in the world.




I have initiated another platform that offers more related products and projects evoked from The Great Sleeping Bear.

Please go for more information: www.sleepingbearproject.com


Photo belw: taken by Daniel Morrel