Galerie Perrotin New York opened its doors to a new body of work by Izumi Kato. After a 5 year hiatus, Kato returns to New York with an ambitious exhibition of new mixed-media sculptures, installation, and paintings. Enfolding across two floors of the historic Beckenstein building, the exhibition culminates in a tableaux of connected fabric and soft vinyl sculptures, suspended from the gallery’s three-story stairwell.
Viewing the collection of Kato’s works is akin to a gust of bracing air. Delivering a jolt, his artworks are matter of fact forms despite (or in spite) of their preternatural proclivity. Many of his sculptures, which are formed from various materials including wood, soft vinyl, and textiles, incorporate disembodied parts — a second head with a missing mouth stacked atop another, for example, or a smaller twin humanoid held in the hand. While his creatures are creations in their own right, there are vaguely familiar associations to be made, such as wide-eyed figures and semi-recognizable bodily shapes. Yet they are both embryonic and alien, seemingly indifferent to their human-likeness as if in apparent defiance of their own sense of corporeality…..Tiffany Lambert
Some sculptures appear ethereal and buoyant, though they are made of solid materials such as wood and soft vinyl. Other sculptures are fashioned from lightweight textiles and yet are bound with chains that connect the sculptural form to the ceiling and the floor. The forms and postures of these fabric tetrapod works can be altered and installed in myriad ways, lending to a sense of a transmogrifying lifeform that would readily exist on a distant planet or a secret underworld. Although the artist does not think of having created his works within any given series, these sedate beings share a vulnerability, but they also seem comfortable in that state of existence. This idea can be linked to the traditional Japanese Shinto belief in animism, whereby supernatural entities or spirits are believed to inhabit all things, including stones and mountains. Kato does not distinguish between painting and sculpture, often combining both mediums in one work. At the artist’s hands, material, form, object, and image are both transformed and transported, exposing the malleability of our reality…. Tiffany Lambert
Follow the artist on his website.
Taking a look-back at our visit to Perrotin NYC in 2018 for JR: Horizontal, a solo exhibition.