Archived exhibition
4th Floor Gallery

Katsura Funakoshi
A Map of the Time

26 January–24 March 2005

Funakoshi was born in Japan in 1951 and studied at Tokyo University of Art. He has received many awards and has exhibited in Japan, USA and Europe. In 2000 he had a major one-man exhibition at Annely Juda Fine Art which toured to Kunsthalle Recklinghausen and Museen Heilbronn, Germany. This particular exhibition comprised of 6 sculptures from 2004 and 20 drawings.

Katsura Funakoshi uses camphor wood, a soft wood which complements the serenity of his figures. The sculptures are painted in subtle tones that enhance both the characteristics of the wood and its ability to mimic human flesh. The figures are rarely actual likenesses but are intensely personal and, despite portraying only the head and torso, have the presence of real people: of body and of spirit. Spirituality is increased by the surrealist additions of animal features or transplanted body parts. 

These works by Funakoshi were juxtaposed with 3 sculptures and 10 drawings of Ernst Barlach. Barlach’s wooden sculptures, like Funakoshi’s, are beautiful in their simplicity and yet they are loaded with human emotion and energy. Among the most important of the German expressionist sculptors Barlach was influenced by late Gothic art. His figures, often swathed in heavy drapery, are posed in attitudes of powerful spirituality.  

This exhibition highlighted many conceptual and aesthetic parallels between the two artists despite their differing experiences – one from the East and one from the West and yet both Christians.