26
Sep
10

Review: ‘Mari Funaki: Objects’ at the The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 6th August – 24th October 2010

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Apologies for the lack of local postings in the last two weeks, I have been very sick with the flu. Many thanxk to Alison Murray, Jemma Altmeier and The National Gallery of Victoria for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All individual photographs of work by Jeremy Dillon.

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
20.0 x 28.0 x 5.0 cm
Collection of Raphy Star, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Container
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
(a–c) 21.3 x 40.5 x 8.5 cm (overall)
Private collection, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Container
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
4.8 x 16.0 x 15.5cm
Private Collection, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
20.0 x 28.0 x 5.0 cm
Collection of Raphy Star, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Let us drop away all interpretation and look at the thing in itself.
The literal feeling of standing before these objects.

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Form

Balance

Colour

Surface

Precision

Will

Style

Silence

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Quiet, precise works. Forms of insect-like legs and proboscises. They balance, seeming to almost teeter on the edge – but the objects are incredibly grounded at the same time. As you walk into the darkened gallery and observe these creatures you feel this pull – lightness and weight. Fantastic!

The surfaces, sublime matt grey colour and precision of their manufacture add to this sense of the ineffable. These are not mere renderings of content, but expressions of things that cannot be said.

Sontag observes, “Art is the objectifying of the will in a thing or performance, and the provoking or arousing of the will … Style is the principle of decision in a work of art, the signature of the artist’s will.”1

Sontag insightfully notes, “The most potent elements in a work of art are, often, its silences.”2

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And so it came to pass in silence, for these works are still, quiet and have a quality of the presence of the inexpressible.

Funaki achieves these incredible silences through being true to her self and her style through an expression of her endearing will.

While Mari may no longer be amongst us as expressions of her will the silences of these objects will be forever with us.

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Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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‘Mari Funaki: Objects’ installation shots on opening night at NGV Australia

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“Opening 6 August, the National Gallery of Victoria will present Mari Funaki: Objects, an exhibition showcasing a range of sculptural objects by the renowned contemporary jeweller and metalsmith, Mari Funaki (1950 – 2010).

This exhibition will present a selection of Funaki’s distinctive objects, dating from the late 1990s to 2010 including four recent large scale sculptures. The artist was working on the exhibition right up until the time of her recent death.

Jane Devery, Acting Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV said: “It was a great privilege to work with Mari Funaki on this exhibition. She possessed a clarity of vision and a capacity for ongoing invention that is rare among artists. Funaki produced some of the most captivating works in the field of contemporary jewellery and metalwork. Her unique geometric objects, meticulously constructed from blackened mild-steel, stemmed from a desire to express the world around her.”

“Funaki was interested in the expressive and associative capacities of her objects, creating forms that might stir our imaginations or trigger something from our memories. It has been particularly thrilling to see her extend these concerns in large scale works,” said Ms Devery. In 1979 Funaki left her home in Japan for Melbourne where she pursued her creative ambitions, enrolling in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT in the late 1980s. At RMIT she studied under the prominent jewellers Marian Hosking, Robert Baines and Carlier Makigawa.

In 1995, Mari Funaki established Gallery Funaki in Melbourne’s CBD which remains Australia’s most important space dedicated to contemporary jewellery. Throughout her career she exhibited widely within Australia and overseas and won many awards, twice winning the prestigious Herbert Hoffman prize in Munich. In 2007 she was awarded an Australian Council Emeritus Award for her work as an artist and for her success in promoting Australian and international contemporary jewellery.

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “The NGV is delighted to exhibit many never-before-seen works by such an innovative and celebrated Melbourne artist. The exquisite objects assembled in this exhibition allow us to appreciate Mari Funaki’s remarkable artistic achievements.”

Mari Funaki: Objects will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 6 August to 24 October, 2010. The exhibition will be open from 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays. Entry is free.”

Press release from the National Gallery of Victoria website

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
36.0 x 47.5 x 14.5 cm
Collection of Johannes Hartfuss & Fabian Jungbeck, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Container
2006
heat-coloured mild steel
26.0 x 8.5 x 6.0 cm
Collection of Peter and Jennifer McMahon, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2010
heat-coloured mild steel
30.0 x 19.0 x 20.5 cm
Collection of the Estate of Mari Funaki, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2010
heat-coloured mild steel
45.0 x 52.0 3.5 cm
Collection of the Estate of Mari Funaki, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2010
heat-coloured mild steel
12.0 x 44.0 x 14.0 cm
Collection of the Estate of Mari Funaki, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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1. Sontag, Susan. “On Style,” in Against Interpretation and Other Essays. New York: Delta Book, 1966, pp.31-32.

2. Ibid., p.36.

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The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Federation Square

Corner of Russell and 
Flinders Streets, Melbourne

Opening hours:
10am – 5pm
Closed Mondays

National Gallery of Victoria website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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