Kaoru Furuko Artist, Handmade animation and Illustration


Kaoru Furuko is a Japanese animation / illustration artist based in Stockholm. Her focus is mainly stop-motion animation and illustration, in which she visualise oral tradition, mythology, folk tales, social and cultural phenomena using collected objects from nature and the cultural environment. She has travelled and lived in several countries where she has done inspirational research and collected materials for her animation projects. She has studied art and animation in Japan, England, Malaysia and most recently Sweden, where she did her master’s degree at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design. She has also been engaged in the performance art group “Hopp” in Stockholm. Currently lives and works in Košice, Slovakia for her next animated film project.


B. 1983 Hyogo, Japan

2015 – 2016         Royal Institute of Art, Program for professional artist’s 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             

Selected film festivals
2017    Anim!Arte – 13th International Student Animation Festival of Brazil ( Brazil)
2017    Void International Animation Film Festival (Copenhagen, Denmark)
2016    Bogotá Music Video Festival (Bogota, Colombia)
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 (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)
Selected exhibitions
2016    Solo exhibition “Story 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    Solo exhibition “Kaoru Animation”, Bielanoc, Kino Usmev (Košice, Slovakia) 
2015    FESTIVAL UMENÍ KONFRONTÁCIE, November (Nitra, Slovakia) 
2015    Multimediálny koncertný “Slavapolis” (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 (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 
2015    EU Japan Fest (Japan)
2014    Filmmaker residency (Košice, Slovakia)
2014    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)

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

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 Moon”, Fasching (Stockholm, Sweden) 
2013    “Two Picassos and Two Laundry Ladies”, New Sound Made Jazz Festival, Södra Teatern (Stockholm, Sweden)

 Selected workshops and talks
2016    Origami animation workshop for kids, “World Children Day” held by 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)

Filmography and animated works
2015    “Tryptokos”
2014    “A Minute”
2014    “Surt’s Diaries”
2014    “Neringa”
2011    “Golden Egg”
2009    “Striped Tiger and White Rabbit”

2014   K.A.I.R. – Košice Artist in Residence (Slovakia) 
2011   Religare Arts Initiative (India) 
2008   Kyoritsu International Foundation Fellowship (Japan) 
2008   JR West Japan Railway Company (Japan)

Korzar, 31. 7. 2015 (Slovakia)
HN Style, 6.8.2015 (Slovakia)
HN Online, 1.8.2015 (Slovakia)
Umenie, Slovak National TV, 4.2015 (Slovakia)
Västerbottens-Kuriren, 15.8.2014 (Sweden)
Košice:Dnes, 13.10.2014 (Slovakia)
Time Out Delhi, 9.2011 (India)
The Sunday Guardian, 25.9.2011 (India)

Animation project.  
Kaoru works with traditional folk and fairy tales, always working on location in the place from the culture of which the stories stem. Once there, she collects materials (such as pieces of fabrics, patterns, 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 atmoshpere 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 present 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 suprises 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 the 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 BerberichSokolová)