August 1 – October 4, 2009
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
4-1-1, Miyoshi, Koto-ku – Tokyo
Curated by: Chika Mori (Curator, MOT) and co-curated by Koichi Ino (Curator, Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum)
In August Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo presents Kosho Ito [WORKS 1974-2009], a major retrospective exhibition. Kosho Ito (1932- ) is an artist who uses clay to create large-scale installations.
Born in the family of the metal engraving of Kanazawa, Ito got his start in the world of traditional ceramics but thereafter embarked into experimental works and has since been active in the contemporary art field earning him international accolade. In 1978, he represented Japan at the Triennale-India, where he was awarded the Gold Medal and also participated in the Venice-Biennale as the Japanese representative in 1984.
Ito uses various types of clay in his works. They range from porcelain clay called Kaolin, to a more reddish-clay that contains substantial amount of iron as well as a type that can be found in Kasama, Ibaraki prefecture, where he now lives. Depending on the characteristics of the clay, the resulting effect differs in kaleidoscopic ways.
An artificial intermediate process is kept to a minimum as he ultimately valued the delicate nuances of the clay and consciously focused on the fundamental nature of the medium. Cracks and ruffles that appear on the surface of Ito’s works create an illusion to the viewer as if they are alive-so vibrant and full of life. Consequently, his creation is born under a dialogue one has with nature and its organic ways.
The exhibition is based upon Ito’s own collection, together with representative works from each period and series of his life as an artist. The exhibition gives a comprehensive prologue to Kosho Ito’s oeuvre. In addition to works covering almost 35 years, there will be new works created specifically for this exhibition. These works evolve a relationship between the exhibition space and his works, echoing a mutual relevance and dynamic correlation with the site. Furthermore, his renowned installations will be shown under a new light, as he personally exhibits the works himself.
Ito’s works are usually composed by mounting of infinite number of tiny units. By the artist’s own hands, these units are laid, intentionally, on the exhibition floor. These units may perhaps appear very similar almost to the point that they appear identical, yet none of these single units are the same. The countless formal differences in shapes, forms and color tones of these individual units give an impression of the effervescent movement of living organisms. These dynamic installations will, undoubtedly, reveal unlimited possibilities of explorations of nature, order and chaos before us.