Izumi Kato Exhibition

Galerie Perrotin

poster for Izumi Kato Exhibition
[Image: Izumi Kato "Untitled" (2015) Soft vinyl, wood, acrylic 19 11/16 x 51 3/16 x 35 7/16 inches Photo: Ikuhiro Watanabe]

This event has ended.

Izumi Kato is an artist who began painting after laying down his brush. Eschewing tools, as if to reject any reliance on the flightiness of brushwork, he applies layer upon layer of somber-hued pigment directly with his hands, not so much to paint as to rub the color onto the canvas. In this way, he depicts creatures with human contours, two staring eyes, a head, hands and feet. Those bold, forceful curves, throwing into relief the human shape, those organic lines, that distortion and simplifying of form, are inevitable products of painting with the hands, and as a result, Kato’s works possess a powerful presence that seems to illuminate the core of the human body.
Kato was a relative latecomer to the art world, making his debut at the age of thirty. He had worked as a manual laborer for some years, which left him with the sense of being at one with the world that comes with corporeal achievement, and a humble appreciation of his place as just anther creature of this earth.

From here he set out on a new journey of engagement with the vast realm of painting. An artist who began with the abstract, he now depicts nothing but human figures. All Kato’s recent works are untitled, and he does not set up any specific model to paint; nor does he draft or sketch. These paintings have no narrative element. They are dialogues, creations arising from a direct, barely suppressible physical urge to touch, a trait given play by humans since the days of prehistoric cave murals. The figures sealed within the frame of the canvas seem to radiate an enigmatic aura, their undifferentiated bodies encased in thin membranes reminiscent of a budding life form in the embrace of its mother’s amniotic fluid. Kato’s is the act of capturing life through his body.

In 2005 Kato also turned to sculpture. Deliberately avoiding materials that are easy to mould such as clay and resin, he works only in wood, carving directly. Once again he focuses consistently on human figures, chisel marks and cracks left like idiosyncrasies of the flesh. That he always colors these roughly hewn bodies indicates that for Kato, they are in extension in his painting. Some of his works are equipped with legs or castors resembling those on desks and chairs.

Echoing Brancusi perhaps, through the pursuit of the substance of things he has arrived at the simplification of form. He also attempts to explore the possibilities of form in different materials and textures. Through the classical techniques of painting and sculpture, Kato reflects physicality, practicing an unrefined yet direct, shareable, real artistic expression in a contemporary world where virtual elements proliferate.
Izumi Kato was born in 1969, in Shimane, Japan. He graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at Musashino University in 1992. He now lives and works in Tokyo. Since the 2000’s, Kato has garnered attention as an innovative artist with his totemic creations through exhibitions held in Japan and across the world. In 2007, he was invited to the 52nd Venice Biennale International Exhibition, curated by Robert Storr.
Text by Yukie Kamiya, Gallery Director, Japan Society, New York, initially written for Creamier-Contemporary Art in Culture (Phaidon). On the occasion of Izumi Kato’s exhibition, Galerie Perrotin will release a monograph including a text by Ryutaro Takahashi.



from January 07, 2016 to February 27, 2016

Opening Reception on 2016-01-07 from 18:00 to 20:00


Izumi Kato

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