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Kaoru Furuko

 

Filmmaker / Animation artist

​Kaoru Furuko is an artist, visual storyteller, and filmmaker who uses stop-motion animation as her primary means of creative exploration and expression.

 

Using stop-motion techniques, she explores and investigates materiality. She crafts, draws, 

collages, and experiments with lights and colors. By capturing and intertwining these elements together with motion, sounds, and music, she constructs a unified narrative that embodies her artistic vision. 

 

She perceives her work as a cooperative interaction and conversation between herself and the materials and objects she utilizes, considering them actors, each possessing a unique story to convey.

During her early twenties, while living in South East Asia, she became deeply captivated by the materiality she observed in everyday life. The objects and materials she encountered spoke to her, capturing her heart and inspiring her imagination and creativity. She was drawn to patterns and textures created by nature, the intricate hand-stitched threads in old embroideries, scrap iron discarded outside repair shops, and everyday objects discovered in markets. This naturally steered her towards exploring the world of stop-motion techniques.

 

Ever since, she has been creating animation works by reassembling and combining materials, local stories, and sounds gathered from various regions. Frequently collaborating with local artists and creators in interdisciplinary projects, she has undertaken this long-term endeavor through artist-in-residencies or relocating to different countries to immerse herself in work, resulting in the artwork of various formats, such as short films, installations, performances, music videos, and video art.

 

In 2015, she returned to the educational system to deepen her curiosity and research the possibilities of materiality with stop-motion. Her interest expanded into delving into the inner essence and intangible qualities of the elements. Since then, she has been constantly pursuing this aspect of her artistic practice in one series of her work.

 

Although she uses a traditional and old-fashioned style of working, she also takes in modern and digital technologies for her inspirational sketches, for the process of creation, or as a modern format of the output. 

 

She is mainly active in the filmmaking and animation art scenes, where she works on her films as well as collaborative projects. Her works have been exhibited and screened at film festivals internationally.

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Happy to hear from you!
e-mail:
contact@kaorufuruko.com
 

Education
2015 – 2016         Royal Institute of Art, Program for professional artist development, Stockholm, Sweden
2012 – 2014         MFA,         Konstfack University College of Art, Craft and Design, Storytelling, Stockholm, Sweden
2007 – 2009         Osaka College of Art, Animation, Osaka, Japan
2004 – 2006         Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
2001 – 2002         Chelsea College of Arts, Foundation course, London, England 

  

Film festivals

2024    International film festival FEBIOFEST Bratislava 2024 "Tapping Black Boots" (Bratislava, Slovakia)
2024    Film and Folklore Festival. "Tapping Black Boots"(Trinidad & Tobago)

2023    Ämbar Ceniza Festival of Sound Art and Experimental Cinema. "Tapping Black Boots" (Xalapa, Mexico) 

2023    Orizaba International Film Festival FICO 2023 "Tapping Black Boots" (Orizaba, Mexico)

2023    International Short Film Festival BRNO16 "Tapping Black Boots" (Brno, Czech Republic)

2023    Punto y Raya Festival 2023 "Solid Fluid 003 Ao"(Lisbon, Portugal)

2023    ​ArchFilm Lund Festival "Tapping Black Boots"  (Lund, Sweden)   

2023    Fantoche International Festival for Animated Film, It’s GIFing! category "Million Billion Nights" (Baden, Switzerland) 

2023    International Ethnographic Film Festival "Tapping Black Boots" (Bitola, Macedonia) 

2022    ASVOFF 14  Fashion/Culture Film Festival "Tryptokos"  (Paris, France) 

2021    Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia 2021 (Tokyo, Japan)
2018    Animation Volda Festival (Volda, Norway)
2018    12th IFEMA International Female Film Festival Malmö (Malmö, Sweden)
2017    Odense Int
ernational Film Festival (Odense, Denmark) 
2017    Viborg Animation Festival (Viborg, Denmark) 
2017    Re Anima Film Festival (Bergen, Norway)
2017    Anim!Arte ( Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brazil) 
2017    VOID International Animation Film Festival (Copenhagen, Denmark)
2016    Bogotá Music Video Festival (Bogota, Colombia)

2016    THE KUANDU INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL (Taipei, Taiwan)
2016    Locomoción Experimental Animation Festival (Mexico City, Mexico)
2016    6th StopTrik International Film Festival (Maribor, Slovenia / Lodz, Poland)
2016    BANJALUKA International Animated Film Festival (Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
2016    European Animated Film Festival BALKANIMA (Novi Beograd, Serbia)
2016    33rd Tehran International Short Film Festival,Video Art (Tehran, Iran)
2016    Music Festival O Sol da Caparica (Lisbon, Portugal)
2016    Fest Anča International Animation Festival (Zilina, Slovakia) 
2016    London Shows International Film Festival (London, England)  
2016    MONSTRA Lisbon Animated Film Festival (Lisbon, Portugal)
2010    Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival (Toronto, Canada) 
2009    Sapporo International Short Film Festival (Sapporo, Japan)
 

Exhibitions & Shows

2023    Tokyo Camera Club Movie Creators Award 2023 at Hikarie (Tokyo, Japan)
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023    The Upside Space, Group show "In the wall, a window" curated by LAND

2023   "Searching for The Little Prince ~ An Interactive Art Exhibition Enjoyed with AR ~" East Osaka Civic Art Center (Osaka, Japan)

2023   Trollywood Animation Festival 2023, Exhibition at Konsthallen Trollhättan, "Story Time"(Trollhättan, Sweden) 

2022   Animation &  Animation workshop (Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Tokyo)

2021   Kre: Pi Festival, Zahrada, (Banska Bystrica, Slovakia)  

2021   Natsuyasumi Kodomo Art Circus Concert 2021 (Toshima, Tokyo)

2021    Pohoda Festival 2021, (Slovakia)

2021    "Drozdy in onsen", Nástupište 1-12 (Topoľčany, Slovakia)   

2020    1GB, Spiral (Tokyo, Japan)

2018    Höstglöd (Enköping, Sweden)
2018    Fluid State, Atrier 35  (Bucharest, Romania)
2018    Gojo short animation gallery Kyoto (Kyoto, Japan)
2017    International Biennale of Glass Bulgaria 2017 (Sofia, Bulgaria) 
2017    The Royal Institute of Art Spring Exhibitions 2017 (Stockholm, Sweden)
2016    Solo exhibition “S
tory Time”, Kino Art (Brno, Czech Republic)
2016    Group exhibition “Rundgång”, Royal Institute of Art (Stockholm, Sweden)
2015    Solo exhibition “Tryptokos”, Šopa Gallery (Košice, Slovakia)  
2015    “Kaoru Animation”, Bielanoc, Kino Usmev (Košice, Slovakia) 
2015    FESTIVAL UMENÍ KONFRONTÁCIE, November (Nitra, Slovakia) 
2015    SLAVAPOLIS – A multimedia symphonic composition, A4 – Zero Space (Bratislava, Slovakia)
2014    Solo exhibition “Dlhý, Široký a Bystrozraký” (Košice, Slovakia) 
2013    Solo exhibition, Gallerouge #3 (Stockholm, Sweden) 
2013    Group exhibition “Nonsense”, Bologna Children’s Book Fair (Bologna, Italy) 
2012    Group exhibition “Sound, Sense and Space” (Berlin, Germany) 
2011    Group exhibition, Religare Art Residency, Religare Art Gallery (New Delhi, India) 
2010    Group exhibition, Koukan-ten, (Osaka, Japan) 
2010    “Striped Tiger and White Rabbit”, MHz networks TV Network Broadcast (USA)
2009    Group exhibition, Art Link (Tokyo, Japan) 
2008    Group exhibition, Suntory Museum Tempozan (Osaka, Japan)
2007    Group exhibition, Film Cocktail (Osaka, Japan)

Awards and grants

2023    Orizaba International Film Festival FICO 2023, Best Animation Short (Orizaba, Mexico) 

2023    Tokyo Camera Club Movie Creators Award 2023 at Hikarie (Tokyo, Japan). Winner. "Solid Fluid 003 Ao"

2023    Kosice International Film Festival 2023/24. Best Slovak Short Film. Honorable Mention "Tapping Black Boots" (Kosice, Slovakia)
2023    HEI Film Festival. Best Experimental Film "Tapping Black Boots"(Kosice, Slovakia)

2023    Prague International Sound Video Awards (Czech Republic). Best Experimental Music Video. "Tapping Black Boots"

2022    Konstnärsnämnden  | The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Sweden) for a Stop-motion puppet making training in Prague
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021    Konstnärsnämnden  | The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Sweden)

2020    Konstnärsnämnden  | The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Sweden)

2019    Konstnärsnämnden  | The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Sweden)

2019    Selected for "Japanese Motion Graphic Creators 100" 

2018    Konstnärsnämnden | The Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Sweden)
2017    “Art Award” at The GIFs 2017 | Adobe x GIFMAGAZINE contest
2017    Konstnärsnämnden | The Swedish Arts Grants Committee
2017    HELGE AX:SON JOHNSONS STIFTELSE (Sweden)
2015    EU Japan Fest (Japan)
2014    Filmmaker residency (Košice, Slovakia)
2014    Grand Prize, 
BBC Worldwide’s Creative Challenge (England)
2011    Religare Art Residency Programme (New Delhi, India) 
2009    Tsukamoto Educational Institution Alumni Association Chairman Award (Japan) 
2007    Kyoritsu International Foundation Fellowship (Japan)

Residencies

2023    Stop-motion puppet making individual training weeks (Prague, Czech Republic)

2021    Kino Usmev Filmmaking residency (Košice, Slovakia)

2021    Nástupište 1-12 (Topoľčany, Slovakia)

2021    Pop-Up Film Residency (Bratislava, Slovakia)

2018    Glass residency (Bucharest, Romania)
2017    NipponNordic – Universe Accelerator (Viborg, Denmark)

2017    Glass residency (Bucharest, Romania) 
2014-2015    Filmmaker residency (Košice, Slovakia)
2013    “Contemporary Past”, Nida Art Colony (Nida, Lithuania)
2011    Religare Art Residency Programme (New Delhi, India)

Performances 

2023    "Drozdy in onsen", FULL LOVE DNI 2023 festivalLudovit Fulla Gallery, (Ružomberok, Slovakia)
2023    "Drozdy in onsen", Festival KVANTUM, Pažite cultural center (Topoľčany, Slovakia)
2021    "Drozdy in onsen", Kino Usmev (Košice, Slovakia)

2021    "Drozdy in onsen", Kre: Pi Festival, Zahrada, (Banska Bystrica, Slovakia) 

2021    "Drozdy in onsen", Nástupište 1-12 (Topoľčany, Slovakia)

2015    “Bohemian Forest”, Tabačka Kulturfabrik (Kosice, Slovakia)
2015    “Bohemian Forest” Klub (Kosice, Slovakia)
2014    “Ett minne från rymden”, Umeå 2014 European Capital of Culture (Umeå, Sweden)
2013    Storsjöyran Festival (Östersund, Sweden) 
2013    “Traces of the Sun and the Moo
n”, Fasching (Stockholm, Sweden) 
2013    “Two Picassos and Two Laundry Ladies”, New Sound Made Jazz Festival, Södra Teatern (Stockholm, Sweden)

Client projects & client films

Direction & animation for SUZUKI Automobile Global (Ad)
Direction & animation for Takara Shuzou (Ad)

2021 & 2022 summer Direction, animation, documentation video direction & stage illustration for Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation (Workshop & concert stage)

Animation workshop direction and facilitator for Kazokuno Atelier (Workshop)

Direction, art direction, art & animation for GIF magazine (Puppet show & stage)

Direction & animation for International Female Film Festival Malmö (Festival opening animation)

Animation direction  & animation for "Mayoke" by Kisaburo (Short film)

Animation art for an animated documentary film "Unkilled, Chapter 1" by David Aronowitsch, Hanna Heilborn (Short film)      

2D animator for a Swedish animated documentary film "Andra Stranden" by Åsa Sandzén (Short film)

2D animation for SETTINGS (Smartphone application) 

Direction and animation for Kino Usmev, Cinema (Opening logo animation for cinema)

Animation workshop direction and facilitator for the Embassy of Japan in the Slovak Republic (Workshop)

Facilitator for Animated Learning Labo, Culture City of East Asia 2019 Toshima (Workshop)

Illustration for Cutters Studios Tokyo (Ad)

Animation workshop direction, facilitator and documentation video direction for Biratori, Hokkaido (Workshop)

Workshops and talks

2024    Culture Center Stanica Žilina-Záriečie 'Tapping Black Boots' (Žilina, Slovakia)

2023    Anifilm International Festival of Animated Films 2023, "Tapping Black Boots", (Liberec, Czech Republic)

2022    Art Summer Festival Toshima 2022, 4-day stop-motion animation workshop,  Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation, (Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre, Tokyo Japan)

2022    Konsthall C, Stop-motion animation workshop for artist, Konsthall C (Stockholm, Sweden)

2021    Natsuyasumi Kodomo Art Circus 2021, Cosmic Sumo Tournament 2-day online stop-motion animation workshop, Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation, (Tokyo Japan)
2021    Guest speaker for an animation course at Stockholm University of the Arts (Stockholm, Sweden)
2020    Stop-motion animation workshop at Kazokuno Atelier (Tokyo, Japan)

2020    Machikado Kodomo Bijyututen animation online workshop, Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation, (Tokyo Japan)

2020    Natsuyasumi Kodomo Art Circus 2020, 4-day online animation workshop, Toshima Mirai Cultural Foundation, (Tokyo,  Japan)

2019    Facilitator for Animated Learning Labo, Culture City of East Asia 2019 Toshima (Tokyo, Japan) 

2019    2FAB4U at FabU Cafe (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)  
2018   
Biratori 2-day animation workshop (Biratori, Japan) 

2016    Origami animation workshop for kids, “World Children Day”, held by the Embassy of Japan in the Slovak Republic, International House of Art for Children Bibiana (Bratislava, Slovakia)
2015    Pecha Kucha Night Kosice #37 (Košice, Slovakia)  
2015    Animation Workshop for kids, Tabačka Kulturfabrik (Košice, Slovakia)    
2014    Two-day animation puppet-making workshop, Kasárne Kulturpark (Košice, Slovakia)
2014    Two-day animation workshop, ZUŠ Kováčska (Košice, Slovakia)

Animation project
Kaoru works with traditional folk and fairy tales, always working on location in the place from the culture from which the stories stem. Once there, she collects materials (such as pieces of fabric
, patterns, and objects) and observations (e.g. about the ways in which people communicate, behave, walk, talk, what and how they pass on to their children, the atmosphere of their utterances and their content), letting them infuse the style and atmosphere of the animation. She thus interweaves the stories with her information about the presence of the place to which the story belongs and in which it survives.

In her animations, Kaoru recomposes the materials and observations she has collected to create a new whole. Indeed, the sense of the whole is one of the key principles guiding the creation of Kaoru’s animations – the feeling of each piece being in its correct place. On the one hand, Kaoru lets herself be led by the objects themselves, allowing them to find their correct place within the collages she creates. At the same time, Kaoru sees them as her actors and actresses, who file onto the stage under her direction as the curtain opens and the play begins. These two elements (allowing the objects to find their own place in the composition and conducting them as they perform on the stage) thus work simultaneously, resulting in a visual language that is playful, fresh and inventive – full of small surprises that make watching the films such fun.

For the animation she is working on in Košice, she chose the fairy story “The Tall, the Fat and the Sharp-Eyed One.” As part of the process of turning fairy tales into animated films “in situ”, Kaoru often works with local artists and residents. For her Košice film, she has been co-operating with children from local schools and at the city’s children’s and youth library (through drawing workshops, creating props for the film), local writers and artists (on developing the script and storyboard), and with a local musician, who is composing music for the film. (Text by Juliana Berberich–Sokolová)

 
 
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