Harsh and subtle. Austere and warm. Unforgiving and soothing. Stone is paradoxical.
The Pleasures of Paradox. The Fine Stone exhibition is comprised of stone works which defy any expectations or conceptions about this material. In the hands of the Japanese artist, stone becomes docile and creates bizarre compositions which invite you to find new meanings in what seem to be ordinary objects. Through these sculptures that seem to belong to an alternate realm, Hirotoshi Ito plays with the illusion that stone is something more than stone or is a different material altogether.
Although most people consider stone to be a cold, hard and unforgiving material, it is for Hirotoshi Ito the perfect canvas. He would like to show others its potential to express warmth and humour. His work is influenced by the surrealist movement and is centered around the illusion that stone is something more than stone. Hirotoshi Ito is very active in promoting the growing contemporary craft traditions of Nagano area in Japan. Twenty years ago, the artist and his friends initiated a grass roots project which has grown into an annual craft festival in Matsumoto City, for which he now serves as President.
”Are you wondering where the artist finds the stones he needs? Not too far. Ito gathers them from the river bed which is close to his neighbourhood. The sculptures generate amusement and induce a state of cheerfulness. The artist surprises us with garments carved in stone, invites us to peek inside wallets filled with various materials, puts food in front us and a smile on our faces. What we are looking at is a model of perseverance, creativity and brilliance. A brilliance that turns the ordinary into extraordinary.” Ioana Ciocan