(Japan 1948– )
42.0 x 86.0cm image; 48.0 x 93.0cm sheet
Ito was born in Shizuoka Prefecture, educated at the Tokyo University of Art and Design, and now resides in Chiba Prefecture. The word 'uta' means a poem, an ode or a song, and Ito has been working on this serially numbered theme for a while. Although in this series he is exploring the 'twists and turns' of his own mind, a print such as this unwittingly serves as an apt expression of the urban bonsai. For Ito the bonsai is the condensed expression of Japanese spiritual culture. His prints presuppose the discipline and technical mastery that precedes spiritual understanding in all Japanese arts, whether calligraphy, flower arranging or swordsmanship.
Appropriate to a modern world in which artificial materials have usurped the natural, Ito's smooth metallic-type bars with the keenness of sword blades, have the contrived placement of a bonsai in its pot. As with other artists, Ito celebrates the artificial, the simulated and the urban environment replete with its man-made materials. As in traditional ikebana, and in modern sculpture, architecture and urban planning, the space, or interval (in Japanese 'ma') is an important element in his composition.
Jackie Menzies, Contemporary Japanese Prints: The Urban Bonsai, 1992, pg. 36.
Jackie Menzies (Australia) (Author), Contemporary Japanese Prints : The Urban Bonsai, Sydney, 1992, 36, 45 (colour illus.). cat.no. 21
The Urban Bonsai, Queensland Art Gallery, 04 Mar 1992–04 May 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, National Art Gallery, Wellington, 20 Jun 1992–09 Aug 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, Christchurch Art Gallery, 12 Sep 1992–29 Oct 1992.
The Urban Bonsai, Manawatu Art Gallery, 13 Nov 1992–10 Jan 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, The George Adams Gallery, Victorian Arts Centre, 18 Mar 1993–25 Apr 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 08 May 1993–01 Aug 1993.
The Urban Bonsai, Lewers Bequest and Penrith Regional Art Gallery, 11 Mar 1994–24 Apr 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, The Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, 19 May 1994–19 Jun 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 15 Jul 1994–21 Aug 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Moree Plains Gallery, 11 Nov 1994–24 Dec 1994.
The Urban Bonsai, Tweed River Regional Art Gallery, 01 Feb 1995–05 Mar 1995.