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Yutaka Sone transposes his Chinese and Mexican studios to Antwerp
Yutaka Sone, Michoacán Studio II, 2016 ©Tommy Simoens, Antwerp.

ANTWERP.- On the occasion of his solo exhibition at Tommy Simoens, the internationally celebrated artist Yutaka Sone transposes his Chinese and Mexican studios – including the skilled teams of craftsmen who work there – to Antwerp. For 4 weeks you can see them at work in the gallery, as they produce new works for and with this multifaceted artist.

Yutaka Sone (°1965, Shizuoka, Japan; lives and works in Los Angeles) trained as an architect before becoming a multidisciplinary visual artist. Moving effortlessly from one medium to another – including marble and rattan sculpture to film, photography and painting - Sone keeps studios in Los Angeles, USA, in Chongwu, China and in Michoacán, Mexico. This practice often reflects – and impacts upon - the socio-economical and cultural specificities of the locations in which the artist works. In close collaboration with teams of stonemasons and rattan craftsmen in Chongwu and Michoacán respectively, Sone’s practice literally spans the globe.

Sixteen years after the foundation of the artist’s Mexican and Chinese studios, their members are meeting for the first time in person, in a temporary displacement to Tommy Simoens in Antwerp. Under Sone’s supervision, they are working side-by-side in temporary workshops that have been established at the gallery for this occasion. This first-time encounter is being substantiated by the sculptures produced during the exhibition, which effectively puts working processes on show.

The Chinese craftsmen are carving in marble a scale model of the town of Michoacán – which lies alongside the mythical lake described in the Michoacán report, a 16th century Jesuit transcription that describes a civilisation that left behind few monuments, and was translated by Nobel Prize winning author J.M.G. Le Clézio from medieval Spanish into French in 1984. The Mexican artisans from Michoacán are weaving a rattan Magey, the magical agave plant that supplied indigenous cultures with an abundant variety of goods, from paper, intoxicants and nutrients, to rope and roofing material for their huts.

Together with his wife Min Sone, the artist has written a film script inspired by Le Clézio’s version of the “Relacion de Michoacán”. On the occasion of the exhibition this new “Michoacán Report” will be published in English and translated into Chinese and Spanish so that the visiting craftsmen can read it in their own language. Paintings by Yutaka Sone, of views of his studios in L.A., Chongwu and Michoacán, also are on show at the gallery.

Yutaka Sone: “What I value most right now are the things that can only be said in this moment, or that can only be done in this moment, or that have to be done in this moment. I want to focus all my energy on that. I feel that sensibility emerges in my sculptures and drawings. There’s no distinction between "rehearsal" and "performance" for me; I'm always on stage.”

Michoacán Report is the artist’s first exhibition with Tommy Simoens. Sone has been working with David Zwirner, New York since 1999. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (Tokyo, Japan, 2011); Maison Hermès Le Forum (Tokyo, Japan, 2010); Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art (London, 2007); Kunsthalle Bern (Switzerland, 2006); Aspen Art Museum (Colorado, USA, 2006); The Renaissance Society (University of Chicago, USA, 2006); Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, 2003) and at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (Toyota, Japan, 2002).

In 2003 Sone, along with Motohiko Odani, represented Japan at the 50th Venice Biennale.

Yutaka Sone’s work is held in major international museum collections including the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa, Japan); The Art Institute of Chicago, Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); Kunsthalle Bern (Switzerland); Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles); Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo); Museum of Modern Art (New York); Tate (London) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York).

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