Izumi Kato’s work with the unique art space in Tokyo

Izumi Kato’s solo exhibition “LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

The installation views of IZUMI KATO –LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL
at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Photo: Yusuke Sato
Courtesy of the artist and Hara Museum ©2019 Izumi Kato

Izumi Kato, a globally famous Japanese artist who currently based in Tokyo and Hong Kong holding his solo exhibitions at The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art located in Shinagawa, Tokyo and also at Hara Museum ARC, Gunma Prefecture.

Hara Museum ARC presents overall works of Kato and The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art presents sixty-nine of his latest works. The exhibition “LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL” at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art is Kato’s first major solo show at an art museum in Tokyo. Moreover, the points of this exhibition at the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art can be said a chance to catch his latest sense and developments with the unique atmosphere of the museum. Recently, his work varies from stone, fabric, to printmaking.

Kato’s work has been known for primitivistic and mysterious depictions of human-like figures made of painting and sculpture. His work evokes totems. Also, primal spirits seem to be locked up in his work as form of distorted faces and bodies. If you look into his work carefully, he always pursues to make a pair. Kato’s human-shaped sculptures are always made of both sexes and also the paintings are a composition in which two separate pieces become a complete piece. Also, about the sculpture figures made of stone, cotton and soft vinyl, although the heads and bodies were made of completely different materials, such as stone, soft vinyl and cotton, in a way, it also seems to take two different attributes of lightness and heaviness as a pair. Pursuit of a pair in various ways seems ritual.

The installation views of IZUMI KATO –LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL
at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Photo: Yusuke Sato
Courtesy of the artist and Hara Museum ©2019 Izumi Kato
The installation views of IZUMI KATO –LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL
at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Photo: Yusuke Sato
Courtesy of the artist and Hara Museum ©2019 Izumi Kato

There are some distinguishing works featured in the museum. The work exhibited at GalleryⅠ, “Untitled” is an example of Kato’s latest challenge to huge installation work with varied materials such as fabric, leather, stone, aluminum and etc. Another works were well-displayed along with the feature of place the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art. Two “Untitled” works were installed at the garden of the museum with nature. The art works in the garden were designed to be seen from inside of the museum.

The installation views of IZUMI KATO –LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL
at Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo Photo: Yusuke Sato
Courtesy of the artist and Hara Museum ©2019 Izumi Kato

About the Place, Hara Museum

Exterior view of the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art / photo by Osamu Watanabe

If you ever visit Hara Museum, you might feel cozy from unique and exotic atmosphere which is rare to be found in Tokyo. One of the oldest contemporary art museums in Japan, Hara museum is located in Shinagawa district, Tokyo surrounded by palm trees in a garden. The building was originally constructed as a private residence for Kunizo Hara, the grandfather of the current Foundation chairman of Hara Museum, Toshio Hara in 1938. The building was designed by a famous architect Jin Watanabe who built the main building of Tokyo National Museum as well.

In 1979, it has been turned into an art museum after had been used by the Embassy of the Philippines and the Embassy of Sri Lanka after the World war. After a major renovation of museum in 2008, a new lighting system was installed and repaired.

As one of the first contemporary art museums in Japan. It is one of rare examples of early-Showa period architecture, which adopted the European architectural style of the early 20th century.[1]

However, due to the difficulties for maintenance caused by its time span about 80 years, the Foundation has decided to shut down the museum in December 31st, 2020 and Hara Museum ARC will become the sole venue for all museum activities. Before the museum with unique atmosphere disappears, why not visit the museum with the opportunity to see the latest works by Izumi Kato?

IZUMI KATO – LIKE A ROLLING SNOWBALL Organized by: Hara Museum of Contemporary Art Special cooperation provided by: Perrotin

  • Dates: August 10 (Sat), 2019 – January 13 (Mon/national holiday), 2020
  • Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Wednesdays until 8:00 p.m. (last entry 30 minutes before closing)
  • Closed Mondays (except August 12, September 16, 23, October 14, November 4 and January 13, 2020), August 13, September 17, 24, October 15, November 5 and year-end/New Year holiday.
  • Admission: General 1,100 yen; Students 700 yen (high school and university) or 500 yen (elementary and junior high); 550 yen for those over 70; Free for Hara Museum members, students through high school every Saturday during the school term; 100 yen discount for groups of 20 or more.

Article written by Jeongeun Jo
Jeongeun Jo is from Korea now living in Japan. She is one of the member of TRiCERA who graduated from Graduate School of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA/ Geidai). She is also working as an artist herself. 


[1] Press Release, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, (The Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2019).

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