A sculptor's life: on the career and innovations of Makoto Fujiwara.
Makoto Fujiwara is a Japanese sculptor who has worked for most of his life in Europe, far from the land of his origin, a small temple deep in the Japanese mountains. This book has evolved over the past four years, a document of his work as a stonemason and a very personal account of his unceasing playful curiosity and authentic tenacity in seeking to understand the world; following the vocation of his given name,—Makoto, “truthfully”—, his engagement with a seemingly most impenetrable material: stone. This collection of stories, streams of observations, happenings, and insights, scrawled by the artist on large sheets of paper, draws us into complicity as we become witness to countless iterations—chiselling and polishing—that progress over extended intervals of time; the preparatory work of scouting, recognizing, heaving, and moving; the aftermath of landscaping and setting in place; the many social interactions along the way as he invites colleagues to collaborate, and shares the labours of friends. The world that unfolds inspires appreciation of the unconditional and non-arbitrary in us who regard the “un-do” as an always available option. After Makoto's passing, we are left to finish this book in good faith, sadly missing his final seal of approval.
Born 1938 in the family's Jodo Shinshu temple in central Japan, Makoto Fujiwara enrolled at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts to study sculpture. A scholarship from the French government brought him to Europe in 1966. After studies in Paris and Vienna, where he befriended Karl Prantl, Makoto Fujiwara settled in Berlin in 1972 and became master of the stone sculpture studio at the Berlin University of the Arts. From 1988 until his retirement in 2003, he was professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover. Since 1985, he worked as resident sculptor at the Lundh Stålaker quarry in Larvik, Norway, where he initiated and organized the ongoing series of the international Symposium Norge. Makoto Fujiwara passed away in the Stålaker quarry in 2019.