In Hirotoshi Itoh’s masterful hands, common rocks become strange, unsettling and humorous creations that will make you look twice.
Hirotoshi Itoh is a Japanese contemporary artist born in 1964. The family of Hirotoshi Itoh has been involved in stone work since 1879. Although Hirotoshi Ito was determined to eventually take over his family business, he entered the Metal Work Department of Tokyo University of the Arts. The bizarre and mind-bending stone sculptures of Hirotoshi Itoh really throws us for a loop. Surprisingly, it all starts in a riverbed in his neighborhood, where Hirotoshi Itoh picks up the small rocks he works with. Although most of us consider stone to be a cold, hard and unforgiving material, it is for Hirotoshi Ito the perfect canvas. He says that he would like to show others its big potential to express warmth and humor.
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As Hirotoshi Itoh gathers stones on the riverbank, he imagines stories and works of art he can create with them. However, Hirotoshi Itoh tries to emphasize the natural shapes, colors and beauty of these stones and generally tries not to change their original shapes. Respecting and utilizing the natural characteristics of original material is a very old and important aspect of Japanese culture, mainly the concept of creativity known as Mitate, which involves creating new values by taking something that holds certain significance in one context and placing it in a different context. A typical example is the raked gravel in a temple garden that resembles flowing water. Although Hirotoshi Itoh is widely considered as a contemporary artist, he feels that such ancient Japanese concepts are deeply embedded in his DNA.