solo exhibition “Smelling Mildly”

どこそこのだれだれ / Someone from somewhere, oil on canvas, 91.0 x 117.0 cm, 2011©Aya Ito


Aya Ito’s works have unique motifs such as zombi, ghost, and ones that are “vulgar, not artistic but childish”. Viewers may be surprised, amused, and imagine that Ito paints them unrestrainedly and spontaneously. Her works, which embrace unusual sense of space, however, are composed through a series of careful process. Ito creates maquette and examines the visual effects by taking many photographs, before she starts painting. She calls this method “photo-drawing”. She transforms the unexpected things happening in the process into some reality with special density. “I would like to make a zombi become a part of the reality and let him live in the same world with us”. Her works do not carry stories, and even if they do, the stories do not have certain meanings. But the reality in her works seems to seize our consciousness.
Ito states, “I have been attracted by realism rather than imagination, and collage rather than simple realism.” By using different elements such as sculpture, installation, photography, as well as painting, Ito pursues her own reality.


This exhibition presents 4 to 5 new oil paintings with the motifs of people, created with “photo-drawing” described above, and new drawings. Ito has created drawings as materials for “photo-drawing”, or as sketches for sculptural works before, but she will present them in the exhibition for the first time. She also plans to create some unique installation in order to make the boundary between tableau and drawing less visible.
Ito, who emphasizes moods of the work more than stories, does not have themes for this exhibition, but describes her works as carrying “mild, serious, and silly moods”. She states that she wants to emphasize these “moods”.

Artist Profile

Aya Ito

Aya Ito was born in Arida-city, Wakayama in 1987. She received MFA from Department of Painting, Graduate School of Art, Kyoto City University of Arts. She lives and works in Ireland. Ito received the Suntory award at “Art Camp in Kunst-Bau 2007” (Suntory Museum, Osaka), the Shu Uemura Prize and the Judge’s Prize (Yuko Hasegawa) at “Art Award Tokyo Marunouchi 2011”. Her major group exhibitions include “VOCA 2010” (The Ueno Royal Museum, Tokyo, 2010), and “RESONANCE” (Suntory Museum, Osaka, 2010), “Really Realistic Reality” (The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama, 2015). She has recently presented work at “AYA ITO & ATSUSHI KAGA IT HAPPENS TO BE” (Pallas Projects/Studios, Ireland) in July 2017. She also had solo exhibition “Sleeping Stone” (8/ ART GALLERY/ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo) in September 2017.

1987 Born in Wakayama, Japan
2009 B.F.A. Kyoto City University of Arts
2011 M.F.A. Kyoto City University of Arts