Following exhibitions in Hong Kong, Paris and New York, Perrotin is pleased to present Izumi Kato’s second solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Kato returns to the Asian hub with new works after four years during which the artist set up a coastal studio near a long strip of a reclaimed landfill laden with irregularly shaped granite pieces that inspired the artist. This exhibition consolidates almost two years of Kato’s artistic practice, with new materials incorporated into his creation.
The latest Untitled series utilizes this type of common granite, selected from the shore by the artist, unaltered or unchiseled, and the artist then selects the most suitable shape and pattern before developing the color palette for the specific piece. This attempt is novel in the sense that it is the first time a type of material has been brought into the creation process not for its functional use, but rather, for its natural aesthetics. In this case, the physical shape and form of the stones have been left pristine, and has influenced the artistic creation process. This process reinvigorates the essence of the “Found Object” (objet trouvé) movement, however, there is also a layer of Japanese aesthetics defined by the innate quality that has become a part of the work. This process and outcome have already been seen from some of the artist’s past works in which antique furniture had been selected to seat or serve as a stand for his wooden sculptures. A selection of his drawings are also placed in vintage frames that have been collected by the artist from various sources.
The artist produces his canvas works solely with his fingers wearing rubber gloves, or with a spatula on occasions, but he paints the sculptures with brushes. Kato believes the granite pieces have been built up with time. While he chooses the granite according to his imagination, in return, the granite also inspires the artist with various shapes and compositions. Unlike previously used natural material – tree trunks that were chopped and carved, and soft vinyl that was molded – granite is the only medium to date that is selected and painted, but not shaped. There is no additional masonry work to shape the stones.
While we will see the use of granite for the first time in Kato’s works, we will also see a series of recently composed paintings in new configurations, consisting of a few panels. In these works, the figure, which has been the subject of Kato’s paintings for the past 20 years, are truncated. Different parts of the figure afloat on a contracted background in different hues and levels of saturation, are combined to present a rather modern aesthetic.
This exhibition also introduces a series of drawings, some of which involve replacing color pencil lines with sewing threads, ultimately creating more depth and thus forming an additional “dimension” on the drawings. The three-dimensional “pencil line” not only enriches the image but also suggests movement.
Throughout this exhibition the artist continues to explore the possibility of new mediums, as well as the relationship between the material and object. This combination stimulates unique visual representations and paves ways for a myriad of opportunities to come.