Izumi Kato
Modern & Contemporary Art

Izumi Kato

The art of Kato Izumi is characterized by a series of captivating humanoid figures, their identities veiled in mystery. This recurring motif acts as an archetype revisited by Kato again and again, encapsulating 'a visual anthropology of not-exactly-human-but-humanoid figuration.' These figures evoke reminiscences of Kodama, tree spirits seen in Japanese anime, bearing qualities reminiscent of fictional extra-terrestrial beings that are closely connected to the tradition of pantheistic polytheism in Shintoism and the devout animism of Japan's indigenous culture. Kato's upbringing in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan, a coastal area renowned for its myths and legends, serves as the backdrop of Kato's childhood, gradually becoming a significant influence on his visual language.

Izumi Kato

Izumi Kato was born in 1969 in Shimane, Japan; now lives and works between Tokyo, Japan and Hong Kong, China.

Children with disturbing faces, embryos with fully developed limbs, ancestor spirits locked up in bodies with imprecise forms—the creatures summoned by Izumi Kato are as fascinating as they are enigmatic. Their anonymous silhouettes and strange faces, largely absent of features, emphasize simple forms and strong colors; their elementary representation, an oval head with two big, fathomless eyes, depicts no more than a crudely figured nose and mouth. Bringing to mind primitive arts, their expressions evoke totems and the animist belief that a spiritual force runs through living and mineral worlds alike. Embodying a primal, universal form of humanity founded less on reason than on intuition, these magical beings invite viewers to recognize themselves.

Kato graduated from the Department of Oil Painting at Musashino University in 1992. Since the 2000s, he has garnered attention as an innovative artist through exhibitions held in Japan and across the world. In 2007, he was invited to take part in the 52nd Venice Biennale International Exhibition, curated by Robert Storr.

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Perrotin Hong Kong
24.03 – 18.05.2024
Tue – Sat 11 am – 7 pm
Free admission