Tiger GalleryTM is honored to present PARASITIC: ONITSUKA, a solo exhibition showcasing new works by acclaimed Japanese artist Izumi Kato.
Celebrated for his paintings and sculptures featuring mysterious yet endearingly humanoid creatures, Kato’s practice gives a material form to Japanese indigenous spirit and culture. With their embryo-like heads, distant yet transfixing gazes, and luminous, elongated silhouettes, Kato’s iconic and alluring figures evoke ancient totems, extra-terrestrial beings from science fiction, and prehistoric organisms existing prior the differentiation of human and plant life.
For this exhibition at Tiger GalleryTM, the artist has specially created a series of works that combine his signature sculptures with various Onitsuka Tiger sneakers, new paintings on Onitsuka Tiger shoe boxes, as well as mixed media pieces paying homage to the Onitsuka Tiger brand. In total, PARASITIC: ONITSUKA will showcase 40 new works specially created for the exhibition.
The works in PARASITIC: ONITSUKA are an evolution from Kato’s previous Plastic Model Series that combined his signature figures with ready-made products. Kato says: “I work by looking at the qualities of the original materials and consulting with them, and this work was created in the same way, in consultation with sneakers.”
Having grown up in Japan’s coastal prefecture Shimane, home to one of the oldest sanctuaries, Kato became closely acquainted with mystic folklore from an early age. The characteristic quality of Kato’s work can be linked to the belief that everything, including objects such as rocks and wood, are inhabited by mystical beings.
For Kato, collaborating with Onitsuka Tiger was an easy decision. He says: “I have been wearing Onitsuka Tiger sneakers since I was a kid and I have always been a fan. To this day I still wear their recently revived sneakers. It was also significant that the brand was Japanese, where I was born. If another sneaker brand had asked me to collaborate, I probably would not have accepted. Onitsuka Tiger has always been part of my life, so the idea of using materials from Onitsuka Tiger products that I am familiar with as my artwork seemed natural.”
Opening on June 17, Parasitic: Onitsuka will be on view until September 22 at Tiger GalleryTM at Onitsuka Tiger Regent Street, London.
Izumi Kato (b. 1969) lives and works between Tokyo and Hong Kong. His recent solo exhibitions have been held at institutions such as WATARI-UM, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) Museum of Art, Georgia; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Fundación Casa Wabi, Puerto Escondido; and Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing. In 2007, his work was featured in the 52nd Venice Biennale.
Japanese fashion brand Onitsuka Tiger continues to present a contemporary collection that combines fashion with sports, and heritage with innovation. In 1949, Kihachiro Onitsuka established Onitsuka Co., Ltd., the forerunner of ASICS.The brand began with a commitment to promoting youth health, and since then, the Onitsuka Tiger Stripes have become synonymous with one of the most world-renowned athletic brands. The legend lives on today in the fusion of Japanese heritage and modern flair. With designs ranging from updated classic silhouettes to refreshing new styles and collaborations with like-minded artists and cultural connoisseurs, the spirit of Japan resonates in each new collection of Onitsuka Tiger shoes, apparel and accessories.
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Izumi Kato: PARASITIC: ONITSUKA