Tall container 1992
- Accession No.
- Date Created
- Dimensions A
17.5 x 8.5 x 3cm
- Media Category
- Secondary Media Category
Mild steel, heat-treated
- Place Created
- Credit Line
Purchased 1997 with funds from the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation
See also Acc. no. 2000.126.
Mari Funaki's Tall container evokes both power and delicacy and manifests a subtly ominous element which, as in Art Nouveau gold and silversmithing, increases the potency of the piece. Funaki, like many of her contemporaries, has used traditional gold and silversmithing techniques with non-traditional materials, thus divorcing her works from a standard reading and leading the viewer to enquire further into her intent.
Funaki works thin sheets of steel in a very precise manner and heat treats the surface to prevent corrosion and create a soft black finish. A tension is generated between the coolness of the design and the warmth of the surface. The non-reflective monochromatic surface of steel allows the focus to centre on the form of the object. There is intensity to Funaki's work and this is epitomised in Tall container; its crisp edges, meticulous attention to proportion and detail, as well as the subtle shifts of light across planar surfaces make it an intriguing and mysterious object with a strong presence. Funaki has said:
'My idea for jewellery is closely related to the idea for my containers. A container has a sense of mystery and fascination, it has an intangible quality, a presence. Until you open it, the contents are unknown. My jewellery can be considered as small scale containers which also maintain a sense of mystery and fascination. I like a viewer to discover the unexpected in my jewellery as they observe it closely.
'My images are drawn from nature or things around me. The forms are assembled with a thin sheet of metal (usually 0.3 or 0.5mm thickness) to maintain the lightness of my line drawings; they are sculptural and geometric but not mechanical. I like to have an ambiguous quality in my work so that it leads a viewer to imagine things.
'Holloware and jewellery pieces are created through metal fabrication techniques including scoring, bending, folding and soldering. I use either blackened mild steel or gold. Mild steel has the qualities of coolness and sharpness; gold, richness and softness. I am interested in the contradictions these materials offer and execute each piece in exactly the same way so that they speak the same visual language. Using one metal for each separate piece allows me to create a single, pure form.'(1)
1. Funaki, Mari [artist's statement] in Contemporary Vessels and Jewels: Australian Fine Metalwork [exhibition catalogue], Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 1997, p.20.
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