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.