SPACE AND GRAVITY: MARI FUNAKI - 14 Feb 2008 - 15 Mar 2008
Klimt02 | Gallery presents in Barcelona on a solo show the Australian based, Japanese artist Mari Funaki where she will present a selection of objects, bracelets and rings.
Cubist calligraphy ?
I look at the work by Mari Funaki, year 2006. Black steel. White gold. This duotone is restrained. There is not much to report about bright colorfulness. This is different with the shapes. They are expressive; they stretch their long antennas; stand on spiky legs. Lightning flashes and crackles. Sparks fly. Backs bend. Whipped by the wind round and jagged wheels are flying through the air. Sheets and cubes precariously lean onto each other. Barely touching, unstable, fragile. Edged fragments of tubes thrust into each other, intertwine emphatically, nestled, convoluted, wedged. As if a cyclone had ripped apart a city made from tin and re-configured it anew. The energy and power of deconstruction are visible. Chaos after the disaster?
No. Many things devolve upon the artist but nothing is incidental. Nothing is arbitrary. The re-structuring hand, the mindful arrangement, the organizing mind – that all speaks explicitly from these shapes. Despite this expressiveness, every detail is wanted, thought through and considered. A continuous flow becomes visible and readable. A stringent aesthetic imparts the dark, injured, fragmented and finally finely skilled, built and erected on a willful beauty - an unwieldy elegance.
Is this architecture, sculpture or three dimensional cubist calligraphy?
Mari Funaki calls her objects ring, bracelet, container. With these names she allocates a particular context for its placement, where it can take effect. The ring surrounds around the finger, the bracelet circles around the arm. Here they accomplish their purpose. They are objects of contemplative observation. They delight, complement, remind and engage. They advance the presence of the bearer. The jewellery assumes a second life with what a person lays inside, concedes and acknowledges. This new extended content is also the reason that the wearer loves and cares for the jewellery.
The container stands (or lies) - wherever. As the name describes it is meant to contain something as well. What this may be is again left to the person observing it, using it, owning it and watching over it.
The works by Mari Funaki are built from thin sheets, one calls this “constructed”. The metal sheets are folded, assembled and soldered. Overlaying edges are cut and cleaned. This way more or less closed hollow spaces of varying size and shape are created: containers, tins, tubes, shafts, grooves and channels, double walls and double floors, zigzag sails and folded roofs. Were these shapes cast or forged, they would be heavy. They would also appear to be heavy. Even if they were hollow, one would think about bank safes. But not these. These here are light. Only the blackness gives them weight.
The objects could in fact be models for architecture. Not only because there is architecture today with a similarly bold spatial implementation as we see in this work.
It is the ubiquitous interplay between outside and inside in this work which is also the prerequisite for architecture. Here we find an abundance of references, connotations and parallels.
The spatial expression, the ongoing dialogue between convex and concave, the overall plastic evolvement give these objects a strong sculptural quality. Without hesitation: some of these containers demand to be built on a large scale – a very large one. I can imagine the feeling to pass under and be within. Meanwhile I enjoy the sculptural vigour and dynamic on the small scale and I am content.
It is not Mari’s cultural roots which make me think about calligraphy but it is the black, symbol like lines and forms that seem to be created by dynamic brush strokes. Calligraphy, as is typography, is most importantly an art of the in-between. The black of the script is one. The other is the white that is around the letter, which lies between the individual elements of the script. It creates the script and accentuates the overall picture. Also here we find the confrontation, the interplay and the dialogue between negative and positive, between volume and space, between inside and outside, between black and white.
One major difference however, is that the lines created by a quill or a brush embody something continuous, flowing and organic. Funaki’s symbols however seem broken up, jagged, they change directions and they sound harder – like a staccato.
“Container”, this is how I would like to call all of Mari’s works. They are brave and strange, strong and beautiful. One approaches them hesitantly, passing through their defenses. Once we open up they open up to us. We step in and we engage. We entrust their spaces, caves and gaps with our thoughts, with our wishes, dreams and memories. And then the ring is yours, the container is mine. Only you and me will know what this Funaki piece means to you and to me. A lot of course. Now it is a piece of mind. An archive, a mirror for projections, a fairytale castle.
What remains is the curiosity about what Mari herself would put into her work besides the artistic necessity to create. And besides the form, which is the actual content of the container.
I assume that she also creates a space within her objects in which her own thoughts and emotions are at home.
Otto Künzli, Munich, January 2007