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First solo exhibition of artist Izumi Kato in China opens at Galerie Perrotin
Izumi Kato, Untitled, 2009. Wood, oil, acrylic, stone, iron, 62 ¹/₄ x 88 ¹/₂ x 48 ³/₄ inches / 158 x 225 x 124 cm.

HONG KONG.- Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong is presenting the first solo exhibition of artist Izumi Kato in China. Kato was born in 1969, in Shimane Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at Musashino University in 1992. He now lives and works in Tokyo. Since 2000’s, Kato has garnered attention as an innovative artist through exhibitions held in Japan and across the world. In 2007, he was invited to the 52nd Venice Biennale International Exhibition.

Kato is an artist that yearns ceaselessly for new forms of expression. He uses rubber spatulas for his expansive fields of color, and for the remaining space of the hemp canvas, he directly applies paint with his hands while wearing vinyl gloves. Using part of his body as a painting tool, the ambience created in his work is an accumulation of his intuition. For Kato, art making is not a conscious process, but an instinctive premonition. Having instantaneously analyzed the feel of his psychological waves and the level of the tides, he turns them directly to enlightenment on canvas. The intensity conveyed by the eerie color tones deepens his paintings into a primordial sphere, which contains human shaped motifs as his primary subjects.

Kato thinks that painting is an unnatural existence that challenges the world, a rectangular form that has been singled out from our current three-dimensional living space. Such that, the artist believes he ought to search for another world within the painting, a world that contains a fiction that is as powerful as reality. The appeal of the resulting painting lies in the depth of human unconsciousness and in the dynamic energy it radiates, creating a captivating realm that cannot be explained rationally.

Comprised of motif and background, the human figures that reside in Kato’s new world are featured with bloated heads and feeble physiques. They resemble mutated aliens with child-like proportions, and primitive organisms that have evaded the hand of evolution. These abstracted motifs possess the power to make us experience primordial humanity whilst the artist’s pared down form of expression stimulates our imagination to consider the true essence of our existence. Kato’s paintings move his viewers by way of the psychological bridge he builds between the true face of basic human life, and the plentitude possibilities of human living in our real world. The figures are devoid of superficial details such as facial expressions and gender, what remains allure whirls of power and crudeness, confronting the viewer with their empty yet disturbing features.

These human forms gain a sense of independence in the exhibited wooden sculpture, which Kato has started to produce to complement his paintings. For the artist, unlike a painting, a sculpture is never complete as one could only make what would be the motif in a picture, that is, a human figure that once done, interacts with the world on its own. Using wood as the chief medium for his sculptural work, most of them are not self-standing. They are stacked in a pile, or are supported by ready-made furniture. This is Kato’s way of preserving his sculptures in their natural manners, without intentionally making them stable.

Izumi Kato was born in 1969, Shimane, Japan. He graduated from the Department of Oil painting Musashino Art University.

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