Artist Statement:

Chromatic Beauty 




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The chromatic beauty and the comprehensiveness that defines my work, both individually and collectively, was immediate and evident during a 2016 solo exhibition at the M-gallery in my native Japan. Considering the variety of styles I work in, this immediacy prompted Japanese art curator, Mitsui Tomoyuki, to remark on my bright future, further elaborating in the show catalog, “What makes Kadota’s pieces so beautiful yet so hard to understand.”

Following several more shows, including those at the Sezon Museum of Modern Art in Karuizawa and Tezukayama gallery in Osaka along with group exhibitions and displays at art fairs, I was invited to my first-ever solo show in New York in the fall of 2019 for collectors and MoMA’s Young Patrons. Simply but emphatically titled “KADOTA,” I received the opportunity to hold a private, one-night show at Lincoln Center. “KADOTA” was supported by Cody Franchetti, the nephew of Cy Twombly, who described the dozen works on display that evening as such: “Kadota’s pieces are polychromatic but come together as a single, chromatic concept.”

Cody’s remark is emblematic of the growing appreciation for my pieces over the years. Truly, it felt like a deeper understanding of myself through my expressive artwork and what each piece represented. As someone who’s often felt misunderstood because of my hyperactiveness and complicated home life as a child, I took Cody’s statement and the many others I’ve received over the course of my career to mean that Although some may see me as someone who is all over the place, the elements of myself come together as one.

Following this overseas appreciation, I returned to Ashikaga to talk with Mimura-san (the head of M-gallery) about my reception in New York as well as to see a show of Mitsumasa Anno’s illustrations at the Ashikaga City Museum of Art. Anno-san’s work holds a lot of importance for myself and for my own practice, in particular, his description of his “strange art”: You can look at the individual elements, but you look at the entire piece and it defies logic. A strange art topology.

Revisiting Anno-san’s work, I connected what Mitsui-san said to me all those years ago to Cody’s more recent appraisal of my art. At that moment, I understood my process and my art as this strange union between something that is whole yet composed of incongruous parts. That what I create are works pervaded with color that challenge existing definitions of pigment while taking up the range of the traditional Japanese palette. However much my works are deemed difficult to understand, they can nevertheless transcend restrictive historical standards of value and be deemed noteworthy and beautiful through my expressive brushstrokes and use of color. From my work, new perspectives can be gleaned and we can all begin thinking about life and ourselves differently.

This, I believe, is the role art plays in life and society. Just as Anno-san’s work brings elements together that present as “strange,” I work apace in my atelier, continuing to create my own strange yet moving, difficult yet beautiful art.

Mark
© 2021 Mitsumasa Kadota