Izumi Kato
Portrait of Izumi Kato

Izumi Kato joins Stephen Friedman Gallery

Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to announce representation of Japanese artist Izumi Kato.

Kato lives and works between Tokyo and Hong Kong. He was born in 1969 in the Shimane prefecture of Japan, a sparsely populated province bordered by mountain and sea which houses Izumo Oyashiro, one of the oldest and most significant shrines in Shintoism.

‘Stand By You’, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2021). Photo: Courtesy SCAD Museum of Art.
‘Stand By You’, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2021). Photo: Courtesy SCAD Museum of Art.

Describing painting as the root of his practice, with bold clashing colours the artist depicts children with unusual faces, embryos with fully developed limbs and figures with bulbous heads attached to slim, graceful bodies. Working intuitively, Kato applies pigment to surfaces directly with his hands. This ardent exploration led the artist also to paint textiles, wood and stone.

Gathering material from his surroundings, Kato combines painting with stitching, knotting and carving – skills that as an avid fisherman he uses regularly – to create sculptures and installations.

The creatures in Kato’s work tower over viewers or hide discreetly in corners of rooms. Speaking of the universality of the beings that he animates through his practice, Kato says, “They are no one and nowhere”; rather the forms are expressions of the energy and very essence of consciousness.

Stephen Friedman Gallery will host a solo exhibition by the artist in November 2022.

Kato graduated from the Painting Department at Musashino University in Tokyo, Japan in 1992. Recent solo exhibitions include: ‘Stand By You’, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia, USA (2021); Perrotin, New York City, New York, USA (2021); Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China (2020); ‘LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL’, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo and Hara Museum ARC, Gunma, Japan (2019) and Fundación Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido, Mexico (2019).

Notable group exhibitions include: ‘Just Looking, Still Looking, Always Looking’, Aranya Art Center, Qinhuangdao, China (2021); ‘Garden of Life: Eight Contemporary Artists Venture into Nature’, Tokyo, Metropolitan Teien Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2020); ‘Unconstrained Textiles: Stitching Methods, Crossing Ideas’, Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile, Hong Kong, China (2020) and ‘Japanorama. A new vision on art since 1970’, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France (2017). In 2007, Kato was invited to take part in ‘Think with the Senses – Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense’ in the Italian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, curated by Robert Storr.

Public collections include: Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Japigozzi Collection, Geneva, Switzerland; K11, Hong Kong, China; Long Museum, Shanghai, China; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, China; Taguchi Art Collection, Tokyo, Japan; Takahashi Ryutaro Collection, Tokyo, Japan; Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi, Japan; Zhiguan Museum of Fine Art, Beijing, China and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Ishikawa, Japan.

Kato is also represented by Perrotin.