Katsura Funakoshi

b. 1951 in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan; lives in Tokyo, Japan


Meet a far-sighted person. He walks on narrow city streets but what he sees is the vast space between mountain peaks. Does he see a great bird spreading its wings, or a dark forest in the distance? Perhaps he’s looking at that part of himself that lies farther away than anything else in this world. Indeed, it seems to me that one cannot see farther than inside onself.

Maybe that’s why I sense a certain kinship between the eyes of desert nomads and fisherman and the eyes of philosophers. People with such eyes are rare, but they can be found in all walks of life. WIthout warning, they pass before me. I cannot call to them – I can only struggle to see them and hear their softly spoken words. To me, their gestures and their eyes somehow embody the humanity in all of us.

Some people say that in knowing oneself one may know the world….If I am able to see the world clearly by looking within myself, then I can make a statement concerning human existence through the depiction of a single person. Because I feel this way, I shall continue to work with the human form.

–Katsura Funakoshi

“Some people say that in knowing oneself one may know the world,” says Japanese sculptor Katsura Funakoshi. “If I am able to see the world clearly by looking within myself, then I can make a statement concerning human existence through the depiction of a single person.” While at Tamarind in 2002, he created striking lithographic portraits depicting a young sitter whose face, direct yet gentle, confronts the viewer.

Funakoshi earned a BA in 1975 from the Tokyo University of Art and Design and an MA from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1977. In 1998, he represented Japan in the Venice Biennale, and in 1989 he represented his country in the Sao Paulo Biennial. In 1997 was honored with the eighteenth Hirakushi Denchu Prize. His work is in many public collections including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum Wiesbaden, Germany; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

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