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Kosho ITO: WORKS 1974 1974-2009
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Published: June 06 2009

Portrait of the Artist Image provided by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo

”Eros of Alumina (White Solidities are…)" (1984); Courtesy: Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo Photo: Yoshitaka Uchida

"Folds of Clay-Blue Freeze" (2007); Courtesy: Artist, Photo: Yoshitaka Uchida

Kosho Ito (1932-) is renowned as 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 that questions established art concepts, and he has since been active in the contemporary art field. This exhibition introduces the entire scope of the artist’s oeuvre through representative works of each period of his career.

[Exhibition Highlights]
1. Versatility in the use of Ito’s Clay
Ito uses variety of types of clay in his work. It ranges from porcelain clay called kaolin, to a more reddish-clay that includes substantial amount of iron and also a type of clay 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. His innovative techniques include such as freezing the clay, or slicing up soft clay with a cord, and deforming it spontaneously by hand. Ito is closely attentive to the various transformations of the medium; hitherto, he has so little artificial intervening process, which consequently values the delicate nuances of his material. His unique approach quickly caught international attention as the achievement of a new expressive style that values the organic character of clay.
2. Vital Force of Nature
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. Ito tries to minimize the human intervention in the process of creating his work, and on the contrary, focuses on the nature of the clay itself and on its pure organic characteristics. It can be said that, his creation is a naissance of the dialogue one has with nature and its organic ways.
3. World of Kosho Ito
Ito’s works are usually composed by mounting infinite number of tiny units. By the artists’ own hands, these units are laid on the exhibition floor. Although these units may perhaps appear very similar almost to the point that they seem identical, yet none of these single units are the same. The countless formal differences in shapes, forms and color tone of these individual units give an impression of dynamic movement of the living organism. 4. Large-Scale Retrospective of Ito’s Oeuvre at MOT
Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo is proud to present Kosho Ito’s large-scale installations. These dynamic installations will, no doubt, reveal unlimited possibilities of explorations of nature, order, and chaos before us.

* The text was provided by Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

Last Updated on August 01 2009

Editor's Note by Satoshi Koganezawa

A large-scale retrospective exhibition of Kosho Ito who is still actively producing work using clay. The clay is used in works that include natural phenomena such as shrinkage and cracks, and each work is exhibited according to the conditions of the space. It is important to note that the exhibition space is not only the B2F room but also the outdoor courtyard in the public space. However, how the work appears is different in both the so-called white-cube, or in an atria or courtyard where the material of the floor and the wall are very dominant. The latter would seem noisy in comparison to that in a white-cube. Anyway, above all a consistent image of the exhibition is established by the power of the work.

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