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”Live together with Northern Soil”  Chinatsu Aita
Written by You GOSHIKI   
Published: November 16 2008

fig. 1 "sun people 2008.6.1" (2008), oil on board, 60.6×72.7cm, copyright © 2008 Chinatsu Aita and Shinobazu Gallery

fig. 2 "train-water tank 2008.7.10" (2008), oil on board, 37.9×45.5cm, copyright © 2008 Chinatsu Aita and Shinobazu Gallery

fig. 3 "windpipe-sleety 気管,雨,雪 2008.8.19 b&c" (2008), oil on board, (a)60.6×72.7 and (b)60.6×72.7cm, copyright © 2008 Chinatsu Aita and Shinobazu Gallery

fig. 4 "katari-jima 2005.5" (2005), oil on board, 220×285cm, copyright © 2008 Chinatsu Aita and Shinobazu Gallery

fig. 5 "momoco 2006.6" (2008), oil on canvas, 162×130.3cm, copyright © 2008 Chinatsu Aita and Shinobazu Gallery

    At the solo-exhibition by Chinatsu Aita, I was welcomed by vivid, refreshing artworks as if seeing beautiful sunshine and lush water streaming from a gushing spring in the North Country. On the transparent waterfront of "sun people 2008.6.1" (2008) [fig. 1], a crowd of living beings absorb the sunshine until they are filled with, stretching their hands toward the sky. In "train-water tank 2008.7.10" (2008) [fig. 2], a clean water source that reminds us of melting snow is born under the ground of opaque soil on which plants are still budding. A sun-colored life form which appeared in "sun people 2008.6.1" is newly born on the topsoil. This recent series, which Aita calls "sun people", has brisk lovely colors and a round motif, which is said to be attracting new fans.

    An artwork with a completely different style, "windpipe-sleety windpipe, rain, snow 2008.8.19" (2008) [fig.3], was hung on a wall of the venue. The difference with her other works is so huge that it is quite difficult to believe that this is also one of her creations. Thick and storm clouds cover all three pieces of the comparatively large canvas, each over 70 cm wide, and a cold island becomes invisible from time to time between little gaps among the clouds. Everything is completely opposite to the "sun people" series: dark misty colors, brushwork to show raindrops from clouds as if drawn using mineral pigments of Japanese painting, even though it is an oil painting. Is this also created by Chinatsu Aita?

    When I checked her profile to search for the answer, I found the "island" drawn in "windpipe-sleety windpipe, rain, snow 2008.8.19". "katari-jima" series ("katari-jima 2005.5"(2005)[fig. 4]) is the answer. The island cut off from the land is climbing up to the sky while dragging tree roots and plant vines behind it, which had been taken up intensively for some time since 2004. The picture shows a strong, brutal lonely island that is crying out.

     "katari-jima" was created at the end of the initial year of her stay in Tokyo, where she attended the graduate school of an art university. When she came come here it was the first time in her life that she had left Sapporo, where she was born and raised. She found a new world full of enthusiastic artists in the making, all desperately seeking their own "originality" and trying to display it. She trained very hard to gain academic skills and successfully advanced her career until she won the top prize of the All Hokkaido Exhibition. In Tokyo she experienced culture shock so heavily that she lost the will to hold a brush. Eventually, she started to draw once again and produced the "katari-jima" series.

"I think even this island has something to say. I wanted to draw a solitary island which is trying to say something after being cut off from the mainland."*1

    She faced herself as an artist for the first time and hoped to release something "unique" from within herself. Is "katari-jima" the embodiment of such a cry? Why was an island separated from the land transferred to living beings standing close to the waterfront or the land in "sun people"? Why has the theme of "loneliness" , with which she was obsessed, so drastically changed?

     Her answer to the question is: "because I felt we cannot live our life alone."*2 Before the transition to the "sun people" series, she created a few "momoco" series, a purplish "katari-jima" variation. ("momoco 2006.6" (2006) [fig. 5]) It is beautiful as well as ominous, as if an island separated from the land could no longer sustaining its life from its own nutrients and started to rot. On the other hand, "sun people" shows life forms desperately trying to obtain nutrients from the Sun. She jumped out of her nest as an individual who wished to express herself, however, she became exhausted with the effort of staying alive, and asked for help by exposing her weakness and hoped to be able to live together with others. Can we interpret that this is the Aita reflected in her "sun people"? The theme transformation from "katari-jima" to "momoco" and "sun people" seems to mirror her emotions of the time. Many viewers might feel a sense of healing from the bright transparent colors and soft forms that she finally achieved in the "sun people" series.
(Translated by Chisato Kushida)

Interview on teh 10th October, 2008.
※2  Interview on teh 10th October, 2008.
Last Updated on July 06 2010

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