ISHII Toru ”Metropolitan Moment ”(TOKYO)

1 September - 2 October 2010

Mizuma Action is pleased to announce you ISHII Toru first solo exhibition.


ISHII Toru (born 1981) studied the techniques and history of the yuzenzome* tradition and graduated Tokyo University of the Arts this spring with a masters degree in dyeing and weaving.

Ishii transposes yuzenzome’s applications from practical use to visual arts. The subtle texture of the silk is emphasized by the extreme vividness of colors and daring humorous compositions introducing pop elements different from traditional patterns, rendering a unique and overwhelming presence which is captivating.


For this exhibition the artist is introducing ancient Kaga-yuzen designs for the first time into his work in an attempt to contribute to further evolution of tradition. His works are rhythmical and dynamic but also full of delicacy down to their smallest details, constituting the highlight of this exhibition.


At his debut Ishii’s works where influenced by graffiti, an element of hip-hop culture. After studying at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in the UK he reconsidered his work at the light of his new, more objective perception of typical Japanese traditional techniques. He then chose Japanese salary-men, a symbol of contemporary Japanese society as his motif, this time even broadening the field of his theme to the “city”. Ishii’s vision of Japanese contemporary society through his everyday life experiences is reflected in his works. In the past, artists such as Ogata Kohrin and Katsushika Hokusai brought elements of their contemporary living world into their production while making use of traditional techniques, creating innovative masterpieces with unprecedented boldness and splendor. As if taking over the legacy of ancient masters that helped to erect the context of Japanese art, Ishii’s challenge is to transcend tradition and originate a new universal language.


With the transformation of a traditional craft into contemporary art as his original commitment, Ishii aims at creating innovative works of art internationally appraised. We would be delighted if you would enjoy this exhibition by a young artist full of energy in a time of recession, bearing the future on his shoulders.



* Yuzenzome was created during times of severe restrictions by the bakufu (military government) and is mainly used to design kimono patterns. The technique to die the silk in vivid colors employs a thread shaped glue called “itomenori” to fix the limits of color areas of nature delicate patterns such as flowers or birds.