|Kosho ITO: WORKS 1974 1974-2009|
|Written by Satoshi KOGANEZAWA|
|Published: September 03 2009|
fig. 2 "Eros of Alumina (White Solidities are…)" (1984/2009); courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
fig. 3 View from "KOSHO ITO WORKS 1974-2009 -Order and Chaos-" (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 2009); courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (left) "Folds of Clay - Blue Freeze” (2007); courtesy of artist (right) "Kino-Niku, Tsuchi-no-Ha Ⅱ(Flesh of Tree,Blade of Earth)" (1993); courtesy of Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art
I am sorry for talking about another museum at the beginning of this article, but I would like to tell you that after I visited the “Kosho Ito: WORK 1974-2009 - Order and Chaos -” (Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, 01/Aug/2009-04/Oct/2009), I noticed Kosho Ito’s work has also been stored in the Setagaya Art Museum. Looking outside the aisle between the exhibition rooms on the second floor, where we can usually enjoy permanent exhibits, we find Ito’s “Flowers - Frozen Clay” (clay, 720mm×358mm×285mm, 1988) [fig. 1]. According to Ito, the “Frozen Clay” series were created by “freezing muddy clay and deforming it spontaneously, and singeing it to keep its form”.*1 The round-shaped “Flowers - Frozen Clay”, which was attached to the wall in the back, look like morning glories entwined with a fence. Indeed, in the brochure, there is a description which tells us that this work was presented at “The 5th Anniversary of the opening of the Setagaya Art Museum - An Aspect of Contemporary Art Wildness: Toward Their Own Natures -” in 1991, but considering it was held as a collection exhibition, the work may have been displayed some time before the exhibition was held.*2
By the way, the “Flowers - Frozen Clay”, which has been displayed for approximately twenty years, is tainted in part by being exposed to wind and rain, and is surrounded by weeds since it is shown in an outdoor exhibition space. Nevertheless, what I would like to refer to here is not the condition of this creation, which can never be said to be good. I would like to point out that the dynamic process by which Ito’s work made of clay returns to nature is currently being shown at a place separated from the museum and is observed through a single glass window. I feel that this work embodies the phrase, “Order and Chaos”, included in the title of the exhibition which is held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.
The “Kosho Ito: WORK 1974-2009 - Order and Chaos -” provides us with a rare opportunity to trace the history of Ito’s creations from 1974 to 2009. It can be said that the display form in this exhibition, in which his works are shown using not only the exhibition rooms but also the atrium and courtyard [fig. 2], contributes to showing us the continuity of his artworks, even though the latter places are extremely noisy, as I have already mentioned in a previous article.*3 Nonetheless, the figures of clay, which have gone through processes such as being frozen or dried, do, in fact, vary widely from one to another, as reflected clearly in the “Folds of Clay - Blue Freeze” (2007) [fig. 3], which is displayed in the white cubic box - the exhibition room - horizontally in order. On its surface, there are designs that evoke for us images of plants and birds created by natural phenomena rather than by Ito. Nevertheless, the reasons for creating works are always decided by creators at an early stage in their creative process, therefore, what we can recognize through this exhibition is the fact that Ito has been creating his own works while incorporating natural events which are never completely under his control.
On the other hand, however, Ito has put his creations under the aggressive control of another thing - Chaos - which cannot be managed through either the creative process or display style, by showing them at not only museums or galleries but outside them, as he does in this exhibition. Indeed, the works, which are displayed in an orderly fashion in the white cube, are good-looking and beautiful, but this kind of beauty is created only in controlled conditions and offers nothing of special interest. This may be a reason that Ito also includes Chaos in his display form to show his skepticism about the “beauty” of his own creations. As with “Flowers - Frozen Clay”, which has been shown at the Setagaya Art Museum, the “Folds of Clay, Fired Frozen Clay Dancing” (2008), which is displayed in the inner court of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, will ultimately show us a different aspect to that at the beginning of the exhibition term by being exposed to wind and rain during the term. I would like to request that this kind of work is exhibited permanently; not only during the exhibition term but also after that. Why? It would be really exciting for us to look at artworks which are being altered continuously without their creators noticing.
|Last Updated on July 05 2010|
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.