Born 1969 in Shimane, Japan
Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan
Making his debut as an artist in the mid-90’s, Kato Izumi’s work began with paintings that recalled primitive organisms such as an insect pupa or an embryo in amniotic fluid. These living creatures, which gradually assumed a more human form, gained a sense of independence in wooden sculptures that recalled a baby rising to its feet, and while posing universal questions regarding the source of life in exhibitions such as Little Boy (curated by Murakami Takashi and held at the Japan Society in New York and other venues in 2005), and the International Art Exhibition in the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007, Kato displayed a grand worldview that seemed to peer into the abyss of the human condition.
Whether in his paintings or sculptures, Kato’s human figures have bloated heads and abdomens and they are out of proportion with each other, resembling a fetus that has merely increased in size while retaining its original form. They also recall some kind of organism that has passed through the evolutionary process without differentiating itself from vegetation or the earth. In recent years, Kato has begun to make works that seem to depict families consisting of men, women, and children. But as these figures maintain a sense of anonymity and never suggest a specific person, they convey the artist’s inexhaustible interest in human existence. Using a rubber spatula or his hand rather than a brush, Kato creates pictures that exude a strong color contrast with an undertone of dark brown. They possess the power, eeriness, and crudeness of an indigenous magic sculpture and embody a universal artistic practice that refuses to be packaged in the palatable trends of the current era. ( BY IIDA SHIHOKO “RE-QUEST – JAPANESE CONTEMPORARY ART SINCE THE 1970S”, 2013 VENUE: MUSEUM OF ART, SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY PUBLISHED BY THE JAPAN FOUNDATION)