Funa Asobi Gallery

Yuka Funami at the entrance to the Funa Asobi Gallery
With Quality and Style
When I was living in Japan, I twice rented a gallery in central Tokyo to have exhibitions of my own artwork, photographs and examples of the furniture I had designed.  The gallery was close to Ginza, one of Tokyo’s main shopping districts, and was well visited as a consequence.  It was in a basement reached down a few steps and was, like so many other galleries, well lit, clean and had anonymous white walls and ceiling as well as an unobtrusive dark floor covering.

On both occasions I exhibited at this particular gallery, however, I made an effort to give the space as much personality as possible without repainting the walls or taking any other drastic measures to make the space ‘mine’.  This was something of a compromise, of course, and yet I felt it was necessary in order to give the gallery some real character to counter its rather unforgiving and soulless ambience.  My intention was to provide a conducive setting to enhance the work, especially as I had different kinds of work displayed together in what was a windowless, limited shoe-box-like space.

The main space of the gallery looks almost as if the original owner has just stepped out for a moment—the sights, sounds, smells and textures as well as a sense of history and time of the peninsula are here.  There is an air of intimacy about the way that the pottery is displayed on a low table made of salvaged boat planks, requiring the visitor to adopt a kneeling or squatting position to view the work in keeping with the Japanese environment.
For Yuka Funami, who runs the Funa Asobi Gallery, a compromise was not even considered.  If anything the opposite was true.  Accepting and indeed embracing what the building she had chosen for a gallery had to offer, she aimed to follow and enhance its attributes.  She allowed the personality of the building to speak and to contribute its own ambience giving her the opportunity to achieve something refreshingly different.  It was a matter of adopting a different approach and attitude in order to make the gallery ‘work’.

Fine cloth by Mikiko Fujita
Yuka had previously worked in a gallery in Kanazawa, the administrative seat of Ishikawa Prefecture, which encompasses the Noto Peninsula.  Having previously tried her hand at making things in a number of different media and also having studied the history of art at university, we could say she was ideally suited to becoming a gallery owner.  It was her partner, Takashi Shinohara, who gave her the chance of moving to Suzu and ultimately the opportunity of opening her own gallery.

The old farmhouse they found and renovated together now provides them with a really interesting gallery and home thoroughly infused with the sights, sounds, smells and textures making up the natural character of the peninsula as well as with a 
sense of history and time that it would be difficult to find 
Tear-drop glass vase by 
Michi Imai
anywhere else other than on the Noto Peninsula.  Yuka and Takashi's manner and attitude as well as the gallery and building as a whole manifest a sense of quality that is intoxicating and certainly made me feel I wanted to stay there forever!

The atmosphere is one of a benign, caring benefactor, who is always ready to be accommodating.  It could not be further from being like a modern corporation, which insists on tugging our sleeve at every opportunity via television or the printed page.  Funa Asobi Gallery is a world apart from what we have mostly given in too or now simply tolerate.  I guarantee that you too will find it difficult to leave.

Some of Takashi Shinohara’s Suzu-ware pottery in the gallery
Apart from a permanent exhibition of Takashi Shinohara’s work, the gallery also houses some work by other exhibitors and has special exhibitions for a limited period, too.  Details in Japanese at f-asobi.com.
For more details call +81 (0)768-82-3960.
Address:  41 Wakayama-machi Sutta, Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture 927-1233, Japan

Bill Tingey Photo © Copyright

Do feel free to pass on the address of this blog to anyone you think will be interested.  Should you wish to leave a comment, please do so by clicking on the comment mark at the bottom left of this or any of the other posts.   If you have found this blog interesting, why not become a follower.

No comments:

Post a Comment