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Meditative bowl

White Rainbow, a Fitzrovia art gallery focusing on contemporary art from Japan, recently opened its new show presenting the work of Japanese artist Kazuo Katase.

This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in London since 1999. Katase has lived in Kassel, Germany for more than 40 years. Trained as a painter, he was invited to visit Germany in 1975 and has never left the country since. Interested in photography, in particular conceptual photography, he studied the subject at the Gesamthoschschule Kassel and, in the 1980s and 90s, was mainly involved in sculpture and photography.

half face
Kazuo Katase, ‘Ohne Titel (Nō Maske)’, black and white photograph (2012/2015). Courtesy of the artist and White Rainbow, London. © Werner J. Hannappel

Katase received widespread recognition for his participation in the legendary exhibition ‘Chambres d’Amis’ in Ghent in 1986 and ‘documenta IX’ in 1992, both curated by the famous Belgian art curator Jan Hoet. He became also well known for his outdoor installations, such as ‘Trink eine Tasse Tee (Drink a Cup of Tea)’, originally exhibited in 1987 at the Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps and currently at the renowned Benesse Art Site on the Japanese island of Naoshima.

Since 2007, he has returned to painting. This was triggered by his journey to India’s holy sites of Buddhism and Hinduism. At the private viewing of the exhibition earlier this month, Katase explained how he searched for and finally found his ideal shape, his ideal object. This allowed him to be free from any new composition and to simply concentrate on the pure act of painting. Through this process, he transformed the form in a personal statement.

The result is his series ‘Schale’, where he focuses on an empty bowl that has the shape of a perfect half sphere.

blue bowl
Kazuo Katase, ‘Schale 7.4.2014’, pastel on handmade paper (2014). Courtesy of the artist and White Rainbow, London. © Werner J. Hannappel

Immediately, one can feel the strong spiritual element in his work. The object floats, suspended into the void of silence, into the empty space.

The artist does not use any tools: he applies the pastels with the heel of his hand or a piece of cloth. In each work of the series, he plays with the colour palette, tone and effects like free musical variations on the same theme.

pink bowl
Kazuo Katase, ‘Schale 25.6.2015’, pastel on handmade paper (2015). Courtesy of the artist and White Rainbow, London. © Werner J. Hannappel

In addition to the ‘Schale’ series, some of Katase’s earlier photographs are also displayed.

people
Kazuo Katase, ‘Indische Dichtung’, four black and white photographs, glazed (2009). Courtesy the artist and White Rainbow, London. © Werner J. Hannappel

Kazuo Katase’s ‘mimesis: u tsu su’ is open until 24 March 2016.

White Rainbow

47 Mortimer Street

London W1W 8HJ

www.white-rainbow.co.uk

From My City regularly organises private visits of the various art galleries in the Fitzrovia area.