Above Second is proud to present the solo exhibition ‘Shinagawa Shinju’ featuring the hybrid worlds of Japan-born artist Tat Ito (New York).
In this selection of paintings, Tat Ito paints like the storytellers of Japanese rakugo (落語), a form of verbal entertainment based on comical monologues about ordinary lives. Taking the position of a painterly rakugoka (落語家), or lone storyteller, Ito illustrates shared histories and experiences to create witty, profound, and sometimes-comical narratives of the world.
Ito’s compositions reflect the multiple vantage points used in Japanese ukiyo-e prints. His spaces are connected but disjointed reflecting the global community itself. Though linked by shared histories, the characters in Ito’s paintings, often engaged in private acts, feel isolated and detached from each other. By overlaying differing perspectives, and referencing different cultures, politics, and personal narratives, Ito investigates the relationship between traditional and contemporary ideologies, and the similarities and differences of individual experience.
The title of the show Shinagawa Shinju is taken from an ironic story in the rakugo tradition about a prostitute who, over-the-hill and depressed about money, decides to kill herself. She convinces a young customer to commit suicide with her so that her death will be seen as romantic, as opposed to a confession of failure. In the end, a wealthy customer offers her money, returning her lust for life, and she decides not to take her life after all. Ito alludes to this ironic and comical tale as a way to connect past and present, and investigate how cultural beliefs are inherited by the current generation. Ito’s works articulate the overlap of destiny and accountability, how our present reflects the past, and how we can live up to the follies of our ancestors.
About Tat Ito www.tat-ito.com
Tat Ito was born in Nagoya, Japan in 1978 and moved to California in 2001. Ito received a BFA in painting from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco, and an MFA in painting from New York Academy of Art. He lives and works in Queens. His works display an overlap between his childhood experiences of Manga and Japanese comedy TV and influences of traditional masters of the Renaissance, Ukiyo-e, and Prussian miniatures. Ito is represented by Joshua Liner Gallery in New York where he had a solo show entitled Memento Mori in the summer of 2011.
Opening: 22nd June, 2012, Time: 6pm – 10pm
22nd June – 20th July, 2012
Venue: 31 Eastern St, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
Proudly Sponsored by WASHI <www.washijeans.com>
and Taiko Sake