Photo: Ufer! Art Documentary

福本 繁樹


Fukumoto Shigeki was born 1946 in Shiga Prefecture and grew up in Kyoto. He studied Western painting at Kyoto City University of Arts and worked in the family kimono dyeing business until 1989. Having joined the Kyoto City University of Arts New Guinea art research expedition as a student, between 1969 and 1990 he continued investigations of South Pacific art while also devoting himself to publication in the field. Having published Melanesian Art (Kyuryudo, 1976), he began in earnest to exhibit his work as a dye artist, participating in national painting and craft exhibitions and from the late 1980s he has been active in the fields of contemporary art and fiber art, participating in international exhibitions in Switzerland, Poland, Indonesia, China, Korea and elsewhere. Based in Kyoto, he has argued that the culture of ‘somé (Japanese dyeing)’, which he puts into practice, is unique to Japan. He is also involved in lectures on dyeing and crafts theory, together with research activities at the Society of Ethno-Artists. In recent years, he has shifted from the principle of ‘suru (doing)’ to ‘naru (becoming)’ and invented ‘naruhodo-zomé‘, a dyeing method that relinquishes control to natural principles and phenomena. In 2017, he published a collection of his writing, titled in English To Dye, Perchance to Dream (Tankosha), which brings together the trajectory of his activities over 35 years of conveying the ‘beauty of Japan’.