Friday, 11 May 2018

Tomoko Konoike, ‘Fur Story’


The college gallery is hosting an exhibition of the work of Tomoko Konoike, ‘Fur Story’ at the moment.  'Fur Story' interweaves Konoike’s artwork focusing on images drawn onto animal skins with stories of human-animal bonding selected by fairy-tale scholar Mayako Murai.
Konoike gave a wonderful rendition of an old Japanese folk song at the opening and her work, usually centred on drawing also takes on a variety of other formats including sculpture, large wall hangings and animation. Any of you interested in that edge between illustration, fine art and animation should go along to this exhibition, which is a timely reminder of the continuing relevance of old traditions and of how they can continue to be reinvented and new meanings found for our own times.

Tomoko Konoike


I was particularly interested in how the work moved between different formats, because certain ideas that involve narrative can be developed in subtlety different ways. The linear nature of stories works very well in animation, but there are times when an idea needs to be condensed or boiled down into an image and this is where her dramatic coloured drawings on animal skins come into their own. The reality of inter species narratives will always include the idea of death, we have hunted and killed other species throughout our existence, therefore old folk tales will often deal with these issues and the use of hides to draw on makes a direct connection to this continuing reality of our engagement with other species. Whether we like it or not we should not avoid this aspect of the fairy tale, it will always touch upon one or another exposed nerve, if not it would have no edge, or window into our subconscious. So make sure you go and see this, even if only to look at how the work is presented, as always the way the work is curated and hung, can be as important as the work itself when it comes to how it is read by an audience. 


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