"I AM INTERESTED IN THE MEANING OF PEOPLE'S LIFE, I BELIEVE THAT THIS IS WHERE ART IS ROOTED."- IZUMI KATO
Influenced by art from ancient Egypt and Japan's J?mon period stretching back to about 12,500 BC, there is an elusive yet prevailing, primitive nature to Izumi Kato's works. His works began with paintings that evoked bipedal beings that arouse a primordial sense of tribal Africa and the extraterrestrial. "Painting presents a challenge to the worldK We tend to search for another world within in." Eschewing tools, as if to reject any reliance on the flightiness of brushwork, he applies layer upon layer of sombre-hued pigment directly with his hands. In Untitled (Lot 121), a bloated head and abdomens totemic figure is out of proportion, resembling an embryo in amniotic fluid that has merely increased in size while retaining its original form. The daunting but serene face emanates a child-like innocence. Hints of mise-en-sc?ne creates a negative space, menacing and intend on enveloping their inhabitants.
"Incidentally, I only make the sculptures because I want to paint colour, I am not a sculptor. They are painter's sculpture." In Untitled (Lot 135), an intriguing wood sculpture is lying down, with many identical semi-transparent miniatures standing on the back, while the eyes are covered in white web, bestowing it with a multi-pupil gaze. Presented in unceremonious manner, they gain a sense of independence reminding babies rising to their feet, while posing universal questions vis-?-vis the source of life. The exaggerated sexual features and goggles eyes are evocative of the mysterious Dog? (clay figurines) of the J?mon period in Japan, which uses as embodiments of spirits, venerated and revered, a talisman for good health or fertility.
As such, Izumi Kato displayed a grand worldview that seemed to peer into the abyss of the human condition. "To see the extent of human possibilities is to come into contact with the true appearance of human life." His works possess the power, eeriness, and crudeness of an indigenous magic sculpture. His portrayal of the doll-like, ambiguously gendered and sexually exaggerated pre-pubescent human form has been interpreted at times as a reflection of the trappings of contemporary Japanese society. He not only explores the notion of an extended childhood and reluctance to mature in contemporary Japanese society, but also points to gender and age as the ultimate primal elements of universal human existence.