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Inaugural New York exhibition of Japanese artist Makoto Saito opens at Paul Kasmin Gallery
Makoto Saito, Face to Face, 2011-2012. Acrylic and oil ink on canvas with supported canvas, 84 3/8 x 62 1/8 inches, 214.3 x 157.8 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Paul Kasmin Gallery announce the inaugural New York exhibition of Japanese artist, Makoto Saito, Face to Face/ Composition, on view October 18th - November 21st 2012 at 515 West 27th Street. A methodic painter and renowned avant-garde graphic designer, Saito has spent the past eight years developing software that would allow him to represent the superimposition of images and the eroticism of the body through digital painting and hand-painted print simulation, all-the-while conserving the beauty and fundamentals of the painting process. Through this practice, Saito strives to “make what is most remote from a computer with the use of computer.”

For Saito’s New York exhibition debut, Paul Kasmin Gallery exhibits a new body of work divided into two parts, Face to Face and Composition: a series of paintings inspired by Fellini films and a series of works on paper portraying the female body as landscape compositions. Saito employs a different process of painting in each body of work, though both create an ideal intersection of painting, photography and graphic design.

The Fellini series of paintings refer back to Saito’s childhood memory of seeing foreign films whose subtitles he could not follow, leading him to create his own story and imagined plot. Now, Saito extracts images from Fellini films and attempts to “witness how time difference is seen by expressing people of that time, using the current function of the mechanism.” In this process, Saito uses a computer as his primary tool. He strives to create the antithesis of a computer with the use of computer. Saito experiments with material and content, placing no constraints upon his creative process. Utilizing computer software to superimpose multiple layers of imagery, textured gesso and oil ink, creating a planar effect as though it were intricately hand painted work.

Drawn to the harmony of dots found in printing, Saito creates this effect in his Composition (Eros) works by painting the dots that would appear in the printing process – viewing the works at a close range, the accumulation of dots is apparent, but as one moves further away the accumulation forms an image of the female body as an abstract landscape. He pushes cultural frames by producing erotic paintings – called Compositions – of the “secret” female part. Saito explores the idea that life comes from eroticism, from the crucial sensual act between two human beings that many conservative cultures resent, somewhat hypocritically. Saito wants to feel the human body by incorporating touch and texture in his paintings. In doing so, Saito hopes to create a “new breed of image […] mating ghetto porn and classic beauty.” The Japanese artist represents the chaotic and haphazard nature of creation in the uttermost meticulous and calculated way. In that, he sets up the building blocks of a contemporary humanity based on the exploration of instincts and on the recognition of its organic origin.

Saito has been featured in solo shows at the Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany and at the Huntington Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art & Design, USA. Some of his group shows include numerous exhibitions at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Japan, the Galerie Sho Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne in France and at the Suntory Museum, Japan.

Saito is also included in the collections of The Chicago Athenaeum, Colorado State University, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Art, The Victoria and Albert Museum, England, the Brandenburg Museum, Germany, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, Germany, the Staatliche Museum für angewandte Kunst, München, Germany, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Switzerland, Lahti Art Museum, Finland, Stedelijk Museum, The Netherlands, Muzeum Narodowe Poznan, Poland, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan, The Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan, Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art, Japan and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Ishikawa, Japan.

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