Stone masonry is one of the civilized worlds oldest and most respected art forms, it is a trade which is steeped in tradition. Stone masons are still expected to apprentice under a master, and it still retains a linkage to the master masons of the past. As a trade it has given the world some of its greatest man-made wonders. In the realms of architecture and engineering we have the pyramids of Egypt, the Parthenon, Easter island, and the Taj Mahal. In it’s relation to sculpture we have the Belvedere torso, Venus Di Milo, Michelangelo’s David, and Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa; and of course, the list goes well beyond these examples.
As a fifth generation Ito Sekizaiten (stone mason), this month’s artist is well aware of the rules he is breaking in order to expand the scope of his craft both on a technical and creative level. His ancestors helped build the iconic Matsumoto castle, and it seems as though a granite sediment coursed through their veins and has flowed down the bloodline to this month’s artist. He has an innate sense of both the simplicity and complexity of his ancestral media, and while the work you are about to see is a radical departure from traditional masonry or even the general field of sculpture itself, it still honors the traditions it is ultimately rooted in.
Zippers, teeth, coins, and much more find their way into these awe-inspiring pieces of art; yet perhaps some of the most incredible points of interest are the blank expanses of stone which generally make up the majority of these pieces. They make evident what the artist refers to as the paradox of pleasure, how a stone can obtain the appearance of butter or cloth through the alchemy of the chisel’s touch.
We are proud to present to you this month’s artist, the first sculptor that we have had the pleasure of sharing with you in this forum. Our August Spotlight artist: Hirotoshi Ito.
Hirotoshi Ito: Pleasure of Paradox
Biographical Highlights & Exhibition Record
1958 Born in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture
1982 Graduated from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts
1987 Award - Atelier Nouveau Competition
1990 Tokyo Daily Art Competition
1992 ABITARE IL TEMPO (ITALY)
1995 Award - Trick Art Competition
2006 Sole Exhibition "Pleasures of Paradox" (USA)
SOFA Chicago 2006
Solo Exhibition, Laughing Stone
2007 SOFA New York (08,09) (USA)
2008 MIASA EXHIBIT (USA)
2009 Marble and Stone Sculpture （AU）
2011 Sole Exhibition "Pleasures of Paradox"(USA)
2013 ART FAIR TOKYO
2015 HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture (FRANCE)
HUMOR IS ME (DENMARK)
2016 SOMMERUDSTILLINGEN (DENMARK)
2017 CAILLOU PAPIER CISEAUX (FRANCE)
Solo Exhibition "Pleasures of Paradox"(Romania)
My family has been involved in stone work since 1879. From my birth I grew up surrounded
by various kinds of stone and work such as stone lanterns and graves tones. Although I was
determined to eventually take over my family business, I entered the Metal Work Department
of Tokyo University of the Arts. The stimulating encounters with other metal artists in the school,
and their work, became the foundation of my way of thinking and of my creativity. My work can
be divided into two groups. One is solid sculpture carved from marble or granite where I alter
the natural surface of the stone into sculptural forms that do not appear to be stone but some
other material. The other group is made from beach stones where I use the natural forms of the
stones and make alterations and additions that give the natural stones different character. All of
my work in both categories relates to the ordinary images, objects and experiences in daily life.
A prominent characteristic of both types of my work is my attempt to create the illusion that the
stone is something MORE than stone or is a different material altogether. Matsumoto City, where
I live, is surrounded by splendid mountains and is richly endowed with natural beauty. The stones
delivered from these mountains have been washed by fresh streams of water over very long periods
of time, and each stone has a unique form that has been created naturally. As I gather stones on
the riverbank, I imagine stories and works of art I can create with them. However, I try to emphasize
the natural shapes, colors and beauty of these stone and generally try not to change their original
shapes. Respecting and utilizing the natural characteristics of original material is a very old and
important aspect of Japanese culture. We have a concept of creativity known as mitate, which
involves creating new values by taking something that holds certain significance in one context and
placing it in a different context. A typical example is the raked gravel in a temple garden that
resembles flowing water. Although I am a contemporary artist I feel that such ancient Japanese
concepts are deeply embedded in my DNA.
A great specter is looming over the art world: the specter of Inter|Sekt. For far too long we have watched the artists of our generation turned into a disposable commodity, bought and sold by the galleries, stifled in their expression by the tastes of the art consultants who purchase pieces on behalf of financially minded clients who want a "solid investment".
They have been amalgamated into schools, said schools are a device of gallerists and art historians to divide and conquer the creatives and free thinkers.
For we live in a nation which thinks itself to be free yet is not, they expect the same of their artists.
Our culture has been raped and plundered by the upper echelon, picked apart and sold by the same greed mongers who claim to be it's patrons. The tool which has most effectively stunted the growth of modern American art in particular is the clever indoctrination of this idea of schools to not only the art student but anyone whom even reads a brief survey of the history of art sees that it is broken up into these categorized schools; the philosophies of these various sects creates conflict, division, and ultimately destruction of the morale and submission to the established order. Thus rendering the creative spirit confused and useless.
This helps curb the rebellious spirit of the average citizen outside of the art world in other spheres of society.
Art history is a lie and galleries are dens of thieves!
Inter|Sekt is not destroying the schools or the galleries, we are simply showing you they were never real, at least not in a world outside of that constructed by academics to sell text books to art students.
The reign of the gallerists and art consultants is over when you want it to be.
From the ashes of the indoctrinated schools of every form of art shall arise The New World Creative.
-Steven Lee Matz-
The inter|sekt manifesto