Thank you for coming today to the Domain of Art 28, Sakuho Ito Solo Exhibition, “ORIGIN” at Plaza North, Saitama City. ( 2022.02~03 )
Ito Sakuho, based on the sense of tranquility derived from her childhood experiences in the natural environment, has presented two-dimensional and three-dimensional works as well as installation art using Sabi Washi (a type of Japanese paper made using Ito’s unique methods), paint, natural mineral pigments and Japanese ink at exhibitions held both in Japan and abroad.
Artwork and images created by Ito are oftentimes greatly influenced by materials of the land and the cultural climate.
In contemporary times when society calls for sustainability, these works represents beauty in “circulation”, “the process of rusting”, “decay” and “aging”; highlights emotions derived from ethnic traits; and questions coexistence between nature and humans.
In 2017, she studied under a craftsman to learn the technique for making Sekishu Washi, registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, and learned how to grow Kozo (paper mulberry), the raw material for making Washi. Ito, researching Washi from her undergraduate years, developed the Sabi Washi made using her unique methods.
This is often used as the primary material in Ito’s creations.
Sabi Washi is made by mixing metallic minerals with the raw materials Kozo and Mitsumata when handcrafting paper, resulting in paper with rust developing from natural oxidation being combined with fiber of Washi paper. While we may perceive the rusting process as a transition from the new to old, Ito perceives and expresses this process as the “cultivation of rust” and “a state where material has become stable”.
Ito values her connection with the raw materials used. Iron sand, an essential material for creating Sabi Washi was collected herself by the river and sea of her homeland in Shimane Prefecture, and Kozo grown in the Iwami region was used.
This exhibition presents Ito’s new works based on the theme of “tranquility”, the origin of Ito’s creations, and includes works expressing the connection and confrontation with nature through large installation arts, major two-dimensional pieces being premiered and three-dimensional pieces of a rock found at a dry riverbed near Ito’s Atelier in Yamanashi modelled using Washi paper.
Sakuho Ito has continuously challenged herself to find the value of Washi again in contemporary art as a material with its manufacturing methods being passed down from craftsman to craftsman over a period of more than 1,300 years up to the present.
Artwork which convey the passing of time, evolution, expressing the mystical tranquility of nature will prompt the viewer to think about living in harmony with nature.
This is also deeply linked with the traits of oriental spirituality and mystique found in “zen” which recently, has also seen praise overseas.
Please enjoy conversing with the artwork created.
– ORIGIN –
I believe my early childhood was supported by the loneliness of my own existence.
While spending time in nature enveloped in loneliness, sleeping in the woods and gazing up at the stars standing on the asphalt road in complete darkness, it dawned upon me as a child, that in the stillness of my surroundings, the vastness of nature, its system, the gentle connection between matters; these were the “truth of the world”.
This might have been the primitive understandings of a child, a wild dream. However, unbeknownst to myself, this sensation has probably saved me in the past, present and will continue to do so in the future.
In a country with four seasons, the trees blush with autumnal colors and soon wither away, its leaves falling to the soil below in countless layers. “Why, after all these years after my birth, does the ground not rise with fallen leaves?”
My action to find the answer to this question was simple. Whenever I had some free time, I would go to the forest, lie sprawled on the ground and enjoy observing the top soil.
Ants slowly carried away a swallowtail butterfly that died yesterday or the day before in small pieces.
Small insects less than a millimeter wriggled between the leaves and soil.
A sweet, pleasant aroma drifted above the forest floor at the end of autumn.
When I realized that the fallen leaves are taken apart by microorganisms and insects and gradually broken down returning to soil, I was filled with a deep sense of comfort knowing that this was the truth of the world.
That moment of realization was also very calm and filled with stillness.
Back then, I could not express this excitement with words.
However, such questions and discoveries about nature being connected to my works of expression today always fill my spirit with curiosity and kindness.
[ 中川 聰 / Satoshi Nakagawa ]
Product Designer, Design Engineer,Consultant.
CEO of tripod design Co,.ltd