solo exhibition

みんなのお墓 a tomb for all of us 2006 oil on canvas 117.5 x 90.0 cm ©Mika Kato

Kato’s paintings portray the beauty, cruelty, warmth, and an always-present sense of loneliness in harmony. This is sometimes presented as a momentary sense of unease, but the major brunt of this force is hidden in the unconsciousness, which is displayed by the presence of a young girl. Until now, Kato’s oil paintings have featured a young girl’s doll face, painted like a photo on a large canvas. She started out by making a doll by hand, a long and laborious process, she then painted a tableau of the doll. The process of crafting objects and then photographing them gave her various reference points that were gradually incorporated into the canvas; resulting in not just a simple rendition of a subject, but transformed it into a human with a living and breathing spirit. The completed paintings give off a sense of ambivalence — the impression that reaches us is different from a somewhat cold form of lucid super-realism though her technique, while also providing another sense of magic realism that goes beyond the forces of magic. There that reaches us. The clay dolls are thoughtfully dressed with decorative beads or hats. Sometimes they are placed with animal bones, flowers, or a bird-shaped brooch which leads us to imagine the girls’ ideal world as consisting of romantic objects; all the decorations are the small friends of the girls as well.


The new motif also features the intimate objects, which Kato found in various familiar places. The motif in the work titled “Tomb for All” consists of an object composed of glass beads, which washed up along a beach. The fantastic light that resides in the beads is like a beautiful, yet unknown, sea creature that floats on the surface of the water. If all living creatures return to this place, it resembles a large grave.
This exhibition is expected to include three new paintings, six charcoal drawings, and one doll. We hope you will enjoy this opportunity to see Mika Kato’s new world, where people and all creatures live brilliant lives.


Artist Profile

Mika Kato

1975 Born in Mie, Japan
1999 B.F.A., Aichi Prefectual University of Arts and Music
2001 M.F.A., Aichi Prefectual University of Fine Art and Music
Most Promoising Young Talent Prize, Fine Art Division of Gotoh Memorial Cultural Award
2004 Roppongi Crossing International Advisory Board Prize