Art: The financial crisis and the shock of Fukushima

(September 2012) Ever since Michelangelo, stone sculptors have been debating whether the aim should be to coax a form out of the stone, one that has been hidden in the rock all along, or rather to give stone one’s design. A refreshing answer comes from Japanese artist Hirotoshi Ito, who takes every-day themes and transposes them into or onto stone.

One of the themes which are echoed in his works in a number of variations is the world financial crisis.

The nuclear disaster of Fukushima could be seen in this piece.

Occasionally he allows miniature figures to evolve from the stone and set foot into the world at large.

As he writes in a Mail, surprise is an important element of his work having been greatly influenced by surrealists the likes of René Magritte and Salvador Dalí.

But the best part for him is giving stone a different life – and meaning or appearance – not usually associated with the material.

The element of humour is indispensable. „A smile on the beholder’s face is the main motivation for my work“, he writes. Playfulness is his passion.

Hirotoshi Ito originates from a family of stone masons whose main line of work for the past 130 years has been the manufacturing of grave stones. He majored in mixed media, i.e. combining different materials. He also incorporates his experience with ceramics, pigments and metal in his works.

He entertains a studio in Nagano Province’s city of Matsumoto and can look back upon a number of exhibits along the Pacific Coast.

He distributes his work including public relations via the „Iichi – Handmade in Japan“ web portal. Here a number of artists display their work and wares. Mizuki Wada is in charge of international contacts, provided the contact to the artist and took care of translations.

Hirotoshi Ito


Photos: Hirotoshi Ito