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Noriko Kurafuji


   Noriko Kurafuji lives and works in Tokyo and is active as a painter and teacher. Her painting is connected with the concept of "Nagare" The Japanese word nagare means a constant change or flow of time. In Buddhism it is called impermanence and considered to be the basic reality or fundamental condition of existence. For many centuries Japanese artists competed to portray the pathos of impermanence and the transience of beauty. Kurafuji does this in her own unique way and manner. Her mastery lies in the ability to render the sensation of the moment visible and to transmit the sensitivity of existence directly to the viewer. She presents everything as a flow - it could be a flow of petals, feathers, time, sound or feelings which converge into a vast hallucination of depth, phantasm of the surface.    The movement is vibrating and going from the center to the edges and then returning back to the center as if inside of a gigantic surrealistic whirlpool. This movement inspires in us an unbearable sense of waiting - the waiting for what is going to come in the result, and also for what is already in the process of coming.

   The artist is painting layer after layer. The mystery here lies in this passage from one surface to another, and also in how the first surface becomes, skirted over by the second one. Such superimposition of layers generates an optical illusion of three-dimensional effect. The view may be indistinct and blurred, but it always has great depth. So, we have the feeling that petals are flicking and dilating in obliqueness.

   The brushstrokes are strong and we can see the traces where the brush gently strikes the canvas. At the same time colors are subdued, soft and gentle. Kurafuji’s visual language could be associated with the distinctive notion of Japanese aesthetic discourse where the allusiveness is valued higher then explicitness and beauty is gently hidden.

   Kurafuji’s painting is what Japanese aesthetician Zeami (1363–1443) called the “art of peerless charm”. It surpasses any verbal explanation and lies beyond the workings of consciousness. It is a way to characterize the subdued gracefulness - the moment of feeling that transcends the cognition.

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