Mika Kato
Puppy 2024 inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper 37.5×37.5cm ©Mika Kato

Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi is pleased to present Mika Kato’s first solo exhibition with the gallery in 18 years. In this exhibition, new photographic works, which have evolved in line with changes in the artist’s lifestyle and emotions, as well as paintings, are presented on tables of her own design and making.

【About Mika Kato: Evanescent, Yet Powerful, Elaborate Expressions and Changes, Starting Afresh by “Forgetting Art as One Knew it.”】

Mika Kato held her first solo exhibition with Tomio Koyama Gallery in 2000, while she was a second-year student at the Graduate School of Fine Arts, Aichi University of the Arts. Evanescent yet powerful, and rendered in oil through astonishingly meticulous brushstrokes, Kato made an impressive debut as an artist with her portraits of young girls, which were based on photographs of clay dolls that she had handcrafted herself.
Since then, she has participated in numerous exhibitions both in Japan and abroad, including solo exhibitions at Art Tower Mito (2001) and at White Cube/Jay Jopling in London (2005). In her solo exhibition at Tomio Koyama Gallery in 2006, she demonstrated a shift towards new forms of expression following the death of her beloved cat, after which she temporarily suspended her artistic practice.
However, over time, she continued to ruminate over the experiences of what she had seen and felt in her everyday life as she lived in a small forest in the Mie Prefecture with her family and dog. From the osmanthus tree by her studio where the grave of her beloved cat is located to the lichen on the surface of the trees that she sees every day on her morning walks, the cross-section of a potato cut in half, a pancake in the frying pan, her child’s fingertips, or the clouds adrift in the sky—Kato envisioned herself painting on these scenes as she gazed upon them.

Kato states as follows regarding the works produced on the occasion of this exhibition.


First of all, I decided to forget about art that I somehow thought I knew. I started from the premise that “a set of paints suddenly washed up here, in front of me.” I engage with my practice in the mindset as if “being burned in a coffin at the end of my life, but somehow graced with the chance to paint one last painting by some magic spark from my fingertips.”
It was a long tunnel, but each and every moment of those 18 years was necessary.


(*Please see here for further information on the artist.
http://tomiokoyamagallery.com/en/artists/mika-kato/)

【About the Exhibition and the Works: The Mystery of Death and Life Birth, A Poetic and Expansive World of Work Nurtured Over Time, that Expresses Love and Care for Nature and One’s Family】

。。。。。。

The tree is a blanket
Beneath which that child sleeps
And from which we capture glimpses of the flowers
The clouds are a blanket
Beneath which we all sleep
And from which we capture glimpses of the mountains

。。。。。。

The wooden object is covered in layers of shell chips and studded with the bones and shells of foraminifera as well as sea urchin fossils that the artist carefully collected from a local beach over the past 30 years, upon which layers of medium have been delicately applied as if gently covering it with a blanket. The work “A Blanket for All of Us” are a series of photographs that capture this object from various different angles.
The glass balls at the tips of the branches, crafted through the artist’s own method, shimmer and reflect the light, as if conveying the mystical moment of the birth of some form of life. The osmanthus tree where her cat is buried, which served as the source of inspiration for this work, produces small flower blossoms in autumn. It is symbolic of a place where a loved one rests, and also reflects a cycle in which the dead and new life are connected.

In “We call it Tiger’s Tail River, not that we’ve ever seen a real tiger,” a series of small works depicting trivial scenes of everyday life, using materials such as stone, wood, and glass as supports, are dotted around a large wooden mosaic table that snakes like a tiger’s tail. Almost reminiscent of a calm river landscape on a slightly overcast day, the work unfolds expansively across the back space of the gallery.

“I would be happy if someone could think of something from their daily life and project it onto one of the plain stones with no image on it, which appear like fallen leaves floating on the surface of water. For example, that someone could be a person from some time ago—someone who can get excited talking about tigers even if they have never actually seen a tiger before. The river is that tiger’s tail.” (Mika Kato)

The stones were collected by the artist from the upper reaches of a river over a period of 10 years, washed, dried, and then gradually coated with layers of gesso and polished, in a manner reminiscent of growing lichen. From mayonnaise squeezed out onto a boiled egg in a way that looks cool to her son cutting his toenails in the shape of a cat, and her dog earnestly spinning around in circles, the everyday scenes depicted on supports of natural objects seem to harbor a timeless and universal depth to them that connects to the sense of each viewer.
The wooden blocks used to make the table were originally her son’s crafting materials. “What is the opposite of war?” This question that her young son had once asked, is something that has remained with her to this day.

With a love for nature, living things, and her family, Mika Kato has for long continued to poetically nurture her compassionate perspective. As she returns to her artistic practice, she strives to put a stop to the tendency that threatens to turn her into an imitation of her past self, and with her own hands, once again moves forward with a world and vision that seems to represent the origins of life.
We hope visitors will take this opportunity to witness new developments in the artist’s practice.

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For press inquiries, please contact: press@tomiokoyamagallery.com (Makiko Okado)
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  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • installation view of "Mika Kato" at Tomio Koyama Gallery Roppongi, Tokyo, 2024 ©️Mika Kato
  • 加藤美佳 つづき Sequel 2024 たわし(サイザル、シュロ、ステンレス)、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、ビス、手編みのニット、ピスタチオの殻 tawashi scrubber, gesso, medium, oil paint, screws, hand-sewn knits, pistachio shell h.30.5 x w.28.0 x d.16.8 cm
  • 加藤美佳 ウクレレポテト Ukulele Potatoes 2024 彫刻用の桂の木、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、プラチナ箔、麻糸、ビス、糸で作ったニット、 手編みのアンディコットンニット、雁皮紙 sclpture-quality Cercidiphyllum japonicum wood, gesso, medium, oil paint, platinum foil, linen yarn, screws knits made of yarn, hand-sewn andy cotton knits, ganpi paper h.17.7 x w.45.2 x d.5.2 cm
  • 加藤美佳 はまべ Seashore 2024 庭で採れたツゲの木、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、ジェッソビーズ Buxus microphylla var. japonica wood from the artist’s garden, gesso, medium, oil paint, gesso beads h.12.6 x w.21.0 x d. 5.5 cm
  • 加藤美佳 やまわら Mountain in Springtime 2024 手作りのガラス、プラチナ箔、ジェッソ、油彩、ジェッソパーツ、ビス、手編みのニット hand-made glass, platinum foil, gesso, oil paint, gesso components, screws, hand-sewn knits h.23.0 x w.26.2 x d.3.4 cm
  • 加藤美佳 Meet Me Halfway 2024 鍋敷として売っていた木、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、手作りのガラス、プラチナ箔、ジェッソパーツ、ビス wood sold as a trivet, gesso, medium, oil paint, hand-made glass, platinum foil, gesso components, screws h.15.5 x w.19.5 x d.2.5 cm
  • 加藤美佳 ハミング Humming 2024 ツゲの木、ジェッソ、油彩、手作りの日干しリンシードオイル、 プラチナ箔、手作りガラス、ジェッソパーツ Buxus microphylla var. japonica wood, gesso, oil paint, hand-made sun-thickened linseed oil, platinum foil, hand-made glass, gesso components h.11.5 x w.11.2 x d.11.7 cm
  • 加藤美佳 ねずみのたいこ Mousedrum 2024 手作りのガラス、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、プラチナ箔、ビス hand-made glass, gesso, medium, oil paint, platinum foil, screws h.12.7 x w.12.3 x d.9.0 cm
  • 加藤美佳 とりたち Birds 2024 購入した桂の木、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、ジェッソビーズ、拾った貝殻、ビス、 手編みのニット、青貝、ジェッソフレーク、アクリル絵の具フレーク store-bought Cercidiphyllum japonicum wood, gesso, medium, oil paint, gesso beads, found seashells, screws, hand-sewn knits, gesso flakes, acrylic paint flakes, limpets h.15.7 x w.15.8 x d.2.4 cm
  • 加藤美佳 すみれ Violet 2024 朴の木、ジェッソ、油彩、青貝、ジェッソパーツ、膠 store-bought Magnolia obovata wood, gesso, oil paint, limpets, gesso components, nikawa glue h.16.0 x w.15.6 x d.3.0 cm
  • 加藤美佳 光景 Sight 2024 手作りのガラス、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、ビス hand-made glass, gesso, medium, oil paint h.7.9 x w.8.3 x d.6.5 cm
  • 加藤美佳 ポケットの中にたね Seeds in My Pocket 2024 手作りのガラス、プラチナ箔、油彩、ジェッソフレーク、シリコンコーティングしたビス、手編みのニット hand-made glass, platinum foil, oil paint, gesso flakes, silicone coated screws, hand-sewn knits h.14.2 x w.14.6 x d.1.9 cm
  • 加藤美佳 ながれ星 Shooting Stars 2024 合板パネルにジェッソ、麻キャンバス、油彩、メディウム、砂 gesso on plywood panel, linen canvas, oil paint, medium, sand h.2.0 x w.40.7 x d.40.2 cm
  • 加藤美佳 せみ Cicada 2024 たわし、ジェッソ、メディウム、油彩、手編みのニット、ピスタチオの殻、ビス tawashi scrubber, gesso, medium, oil paint, hand-sewn knits, pistachio shell, screw h.19.0 x w.9.8 x d.6.6 cm
  • Dove 2024 inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper 37.5×37.5cm ©Mika Kato
  • Hickory 2024 inkjet print on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag paper 37.5×37.5cm ©Mika Kato
  • 「とらしっぽリバー」(部分) glass, oil, dog's winter coat ©️Mika Kato
  • 「とらしっぽリバー」(部分) stone, gesso, oil, wood (cypress, cedar), peach seed ©️Mika Kato
  • 「とらしっぽリバー」(部分) stone, gesso, oil, wood (cypress, cedar) ©️Mika Kato