Newspaper article in "Allgemeinen Zeitung Mainz"

A wash of colours with dark undertones

Call for a change in thinking: Paintings by Ryo Kato at the Volksbank
By Marianne Hoffmann

MAINZ. Shorty after 6 p.m. the first curious visitors are already gathering at the door of the headquarters of the Mainzer Volksbank (MVB) on Neubrunnenplatz. It's time again for the yearly culture and business event, which has become firmly established in the bank's annual plan. As you enter the exhibition and lecture room of the MVB, you face an overwhelming wash of colours. The works of the Japanese Ryo Kato are not exactly small, and they seduce.

Accompanying a scientific talk presented by ZDF heute news presenter Petra Gerster that evening, the works of the Japanese are virtually shown as a complement. It is a critical talk by Gerster, dealing with the ways in which news are distributed, and the famous „fake news“, taking the audience „from the Gutenberg to the Zuckerberg galaxy“.

Most diverse forms of violence

The curator of the exhibition, Utz Heinzelmann, discovered Ryo Kato’s large-size paintings at the „Art Karlsruhe“. They address the topic of humans and the environment within a colourful idiom. „Ryo Kato's works are a call for a change in thinking and for a more conscious handling of the limited resources of our planet“, Heinzelmann explains in his introduction. Ryo Kato, working and living in Berlin these days, urges the viewer to engage with the pictures.

Only upon closer inspection you see tigers, hippos, lions, and frequently polar bears coming upon weapons, people who are demonstrating or fleeing, surrounded by wild „action painting“ elements that make up the wash of colours in the pictures, intended to convey an ostensible idyll and gaiety.

Doch der Schein trügt, denn es kann nichts gutes heißen, wenn man auf die unterschiedlichsten Ausdrucksweisen von Gewalt und Terror und sinnloser Tierquälerei stößt, wie auf einen Stierkämpfer, der gerade dabei ist, einen Kampfstier zu metzeln.

But appearances are deceptive, as it doesn't bode well when you encounter the most diverse forms of violence and terror and senseless cruelty to animals, such as a bullfighter in the midst of slaughtering a fighting bull.

The artist also expresses himself politically, showing through the brotherly kiss of Trump and Putin how this seemingly so peaceful gesture can portend nothing good.

Uwe Abel, chairman of the Mainzer Volksbank, found the right words for this exceptional evening: „Our region is brimming over with extraordinary people with extraordinary talents. Petra Gerster and Ryo Kato demonstrate what cultural life has to offer in our region.“

Uwe Abel, der Vorstandsvorsitzende der Mainzer Volksbank, findet die richtigen Worte für diesen ungewöhnlichen Abend: „Unsere Region strotzt nur so vor außergewöhnlichen Menschen mit außergewöhnlichen Talenten. Petra Gerster und Ryo Kato zeigen, was das kulturelle Leben in unserer Region zu bieten hat.“

Newspaper article in "Lokale Zeitung"

The bedrock of a healthy democracy

By Gregor Starosczyk-Gerlach – 19 September 2018

MAINZ – Fostering tradition and responsibility for the region beyond the limited conception of a bank. This intention, reinforced by the chairman of the Mainzer Volksbank (MVB), Uwe Abel, at the launch of the successful event „Kultur und Wirtschaft“ (culture and business), saw its confirmation in the impressive opening of the exhibition of Ryo Kato at the MVB-Forum in Mainz.

This marked the 15th time that the MVB used its program to not only create but also enhance the exchange between regional business and art. The program included the presentation of paintings by this Berlin artist with Japanese roots, whom the curator of the exhibition, Utz Heinzelmann, had brought to Mainz. For the occasion, ZDF heute presenter Petra Gerster gave a lot of food for thought in her talk on the topic „Are we still getting properly informed – from the Gutenberg to the Zuckerberg galaxy“.

In front of 300 guests she examined the ways in which news are distributed and information is consumed – not overlooking the financial element that every kind of quality journalism would depend on.

Her strongest argument: Quality journalism is the bedrock of a healthy democracy. In times of “fake news” there would be a need for a media that discloses its sources and always gives a voice to the other side. Responsibility of a different kind was symbolized by the colourful works of Ryo Kato. By his own account, the artist confronts the „order and disorder in the world“.

His pictures come forth with powerful, sometimes martial quotes and characters oscillating between abstraction and realism. „His art is a mirror for society, through which people can reflect upon themselves“ Utz Heinzelmann said. Kato’s works would call for a change in thinking and for a conscious handling of the limited resources of our planet.

„Our locally anchored bank is proud to provide a platform every year for the extraordinary people with equally extraordinary talents that our region is brimming over with“, as Abel put it.

The exhibition is on show until October 26 at the MVB-Forum, Neubrunnenstraße 2. The opening hours are from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

September 2017

Magazine article in "vernissage" edition 334
September / October 2017 (Austria)

Ryo Kato  America First

Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe) in Berlin will be showing works by Ryo Kato in the exhibition "Threatened Environment", running until spring 2018. (Recently, the DU have appeared in the media a lot due to their activity in connection with the emissions scandal.) There could hardly be a better time for confronting a sensitized public with this theme through artistic expression. The Berlin painter Ryo Kato, born in Japan in 1978, has made it his mission to elicit an increased awareness of the environment with his work as an artist. He studied under Daniel Richter and was one of his master students. Among his other influences are Albert Oehlen and his interplay between figuration and abstraction, as well as Jörg Immendorff and his treatment of political themes. Ryo Kato's gloomy picture titles pointing to loss or wanton destruction on our planet are in stark contrast to his virtuosic color palette, which blends figurative and abstract elements through layering. „America First“, the title of Kato's exhibition, quotes the president of the largest Western nation, who flouts climate change science and its consequences.
Ryo Kato's artistic exploration of the environmental problem was really awakened by the shocking disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant: "... the total meltdown in Fukushima has greatly influenced my artistic visions and ideas. In addition, I would like to raise people's awareness of environmental problems through art, and want to encourage people to think about the interconnections between humans, nature, economy, consumption, war and religion. This is why I am much more concerned with environmental issues in my art today... ". Ryo Kato has received the prestigious I-shi Prize of the Okayama Prefecture Museum, which has made him known internationally.

Article in journal "Zwischen Wissenschaft und Kunst" (www3.hhu.de)

Irene Daum: Ryo Kato – Wanderer Between The Worlds

By: Irene Daum, On: March 28, 2017, In: Kunsthistorisches

Humans and the Environment

Born in Japan in 1978, the Berlin painter Ryo Kato deals with a wide range of topics in the field of tension between humans and the environment. He tells stories in a visual language that is bold and simple only at the surface, stories depicting gloomy end-time scenarios and denounce grievances such as man's destructive treatment of nature . This focusis also evident in his choice of titles for his paintings, with examples like Evil In The Depth Of Man, The Fourth World War, and Fight Against Monsters.

Ryo Kato's work is an invitation to rethink and more consciously deal with our planet’s limited resources. His powerfully colourful paintings are characterized by expressive subjects, an overflowing abundance of detail, and multiple references and layers. Figurative elements, such as animals or objects of everyday life act as eye catchers, they are familiar and known. These are then combined and juxtaposed with unknown, abstract elements. In so doing, Ryo Kato pulls the viewer into his gloomy and mysterious world. His works show the influence of his teacher Daniel Richter, in particular his attitude that a painting must be "socialized": that an artist must see it through the eyes of the beholder. Ryo Kato also follows Albert Oehlen in his exploration of nature and culture and his interplay of figuration and abstraction. The influence of Jörg Immendorff shows in allusions to political events of the day and their treatment in pictures. Ryo Kato's belief is that an artist has social responsibility and must take a stand.

Ryo Kato's work has been and still is decisively shaped by his personal career. The main influencing factors are his Japanese origins and his artistic training in the multicultural metropolis of Berlin. His work reflects an impressive interplay of the effects of traditional education at a young age and freedom in artistic expression as an adult. The painter feels a strong connection with nature, typical of Japan. The disasters that struck his home country of Japan since the middle of the last century - nuclear bombs, natural catastrophes and economic crises – can be seen as a key source of his strong awareness to the field of tension between humans and the environment.

Ryo Kato is a wanderer between the worlds of strictly scientific thinking and free painting. Even as a child, he showed exceptional talent in mathematics and took several years of training with a Go master, with the goal of a professional career as a Go player. Dealing with numbers and abstract structures, investigating their characteristics and patterns with the help of logic, exerted a lasting fascination on him. He was inspired not only by the abstract sense for numbers, but also the computational grasping and understanding of spatial relationships, the geometry of surfaces and spaces, and, not least, the strictness of methods. As a painter, Ryo Kato also uses clear structures as the foundation of his work. He plays with numbers and their connections in arithmetic; he is interested in numbers as an expression of proportions. Looking at his art, he sees an analogy to mathematics when the combination of individual elements creates an overall impression that has the quality of something new.

The board game Go is considered one of the oldest strategic games in the world. It places exceptionally high demands on strategic-logical thinking and visual-spatial imagination. Two opponents in turn place black and white stones on a board, each trying to conquer the largest possible territory by creating suitable stone formations. The one who ultimately dominates a larger total area on the board wins. The player must always keep an eye on the overall picture as well as the status of all local areas in order to emerge victorious. For the artist and the Go player Ryo Kato, the canvas is where, like in the Go game, numerous elements and spatial formations, independent at first glance, interact with each other and shape the overarching totality of events in a unique way.

The complexity of the Go game and its affinity to algorithms are extremely high. The number of playable variants exceeds that of the chess game by magnitudes. While computer programs have been superior to chess grandmasters for years, a software only succeeded in defeating a leading international Go player last year, a milestone in the development of self-learning machines.

With the painter Ryo Kato, the subject of humans and the environment triggers strong emotions which flow into the creation of his paintings. In the implementation of his ideas, he employs - apart from intuition - scientific-oriented strategic thinking and planning, and with extraordinary results. The increasing international attention given to his work is reflected not only in numerous exhibitions and participation in trade art fairs, but also in his recognition through prestigious art awards, e.g. by the Darmstadt Secession and the Okayama Prefecture Museum in Japan.


His exhibition Ryo Kato - An Endless Story is currently on display at the Galerie Bengelsträter in Düsseldorf until 8 May 2017. Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe) in Berlin shows his work on the topic of the "Endangered Environment" from 29 March 2017 to 2 April 2018.
www3.hhu.de

 

Magazine article in "Kunsttermine" (Germany)
Page 1

NON-EUROPEAN ART
EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS

From the magic of symbols to the magic of nature. Beginning in May, Nuremberg’s Galerie Von & Von exhibits „Master Scholars from Asia“. More specifically, on display are two young artists originating from Asia: Yoon Chung Kim, master scholar with Ottmar Höri, Ralph Fleck, and Susanne Kühn; and Ryo Kato, master scholar with Daniel Richter. The latter has chosen the relationship between humans and nature as his central theme. It is, however, not a romantically transfigured look that Ryo Kato casts on this relation. Instead, his subject is the exploitative and greed-driven conduct of humans towards their environment. His often large-format oil paintings are colourful and seem joyful at first glance. Once you look closer, however, the protest-laden undercurrent against the destruction of nature becomes apparent.

… Galerie Von & Von in Nuremberg represents numerous, primarily young artists from various parts of the world, with a lot of commitment. Among them, the two artists mentioned above.

Newspaper article in "Sanyoushinbun" (Japan)

Calm and Movement, Expression of the Present

Oil painting: Ryo Kato (Niimi)
Photography: Motoyuki Shitamichi (Okayama)

The "I-Shi Prize Winner" exhibition takes place in the Okayama prefecture museum.
(The I-Shi prize supports and promotes local artists.)
The 5th prize winner Ryo Kato (36) (from Niimi living in Berlin) shows lively oil paintings.
The 6th prize winner Motoyuki Shitamichi (36) (from Aichi) shows peaceful photos. These two deeply contrasting works act like mirrors, showing the present society in which manifold values intersect.

Animals flee from monsters, which cut down trees with chainsaws. The red of the flames envelops the whole.
The fine expression and violent brushwork form a painting in which realism and abstraction are presented as a collage, conveying this powerful message.
Altogether, Ryo Kato exhibits 14 paintings here. Included is his piece "Environmental Wars", about which he has made the statement: "I have to paint about my feelings as soon as I get news about environmental destruction.."

....
Both artists studied in the same painting academy during high school. At that time, Kato was already fascinated with painting, whereas Shitamichi liked drawing, where you had to look closely at objects.
After 20 years, the works of both artists, though created by different techniques, together share their perspectives with the world.

Sadanobu Matsuyama

Newspaper article in "Bihokuminpou" (Japan)

Signs of Life

Ryo Kato Exhibition

At the Okayama Prefectural Museum there is currently an exhibition presenting works by the winners of the Okayama "I-Shi prize" for the advancement of aspiring artists. Among these, there are works by Ryo Kato (36) from Oonobe, who is mainly active in Germany.

Kato applied for the 5th I-Shi Prize (2012) with the painting "Colosseum" (180 x 300 cm) which shows the struggle between man and nature, as well as humanity's lack of interest in the environment. And it was with this piece that, he won the prize.

Altogether, there are fourteen of his works in the exhibit. In addition to "Colosseum", also included are "The Environmental War" and "The Distress of the Asias".

The exhibition runs until December 13th.
Entrance fees are 350 Yen for adults, 250 Yen for students, 170 Yen for people over 65. (High school students are free.)
After graduating from Gakugeikan High School, Kato first moved to Paris, then to Berlin. He completed his art studies as a master class student at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Today he gets good reviews in Germany as well as in other countries.

Katsura

Newspaper article in "Mainichishinbun" (Japan)

The State of the Art in Okayama

I-Shi Prize Winners Are Gaining Momentum Ryo Kato and Motoyuki Shitamichi Currently taking place at the Okayama prefecture museum is the 5th “I-Shi prize winner" exhibition with Ryo Kato (painter) and Motoyuki Shitamichi (photographer).
Both were born in 1978 and are enjoying a prolific period. The exhibition bears witness to the big leap each artist was able to make upon winning the prize.

The I-Shi-prize was established through a donation by Mr. Kensuke Ito from Kawakami-gun Nariwa-Cho (today Takashi) in order to support and promote artists with local ties. Since 2007, a first prize of 3,000,000 Yen has been offered to one artist and a sponsorship prize of 1,000,000 Yen to two artists. Kato won the prize in 2011 and Shitamichi in 2012. In the works of Kato, who lives in Berlin, the first thing you notice is the wild dance of brilliant colors. Red, pink, yellow, blue, as if they were pressed straight from the tube. But when you look at the painting more closely, you also notice buildings, animals, birds, trees, and the caricatures of people. His subject is environmental concerns.

At the artist talk on December 7th, Kato began by telling his life story: he was born in a small village in Niimi and grew up surrounded by nature. Because of his father, he moved to the big city of Tokyo, but disappointed with big city life, he later returned to Okayama. He sees his motivation of his subject matter in his emotion and his love for nature. This feeling was reinforced by his time in Niimi, and in his emotional response to the ongoing destruction of the environment.

The fifteen new works that are on exhibition this time deal exclusively with environmental problems, such as air pollution, energy shortage, and pollution by nuclear power plants. On the day of the artist talk he also staged a painting performance.

During the performance, he let music guide his emotions in order to express his anger at environmental pollution through his visual art, using a controlled and careful painting style with explosive strokes of the brush.

Kato said: "My works carry messages, yet at the same time they must also work as contemporary art. Fortunately, my art is recognised in Germany. I often exhibit and I can make enough for a living.”
...

The I-Shi Prize winners are taking new steps. You can feel the vision, the prospects and the anticipation.

Art journalist

Newspaper article in "Hannoverschen Allgemeinen Zeitung" (Germany)

Pretty well concerned

Painted pamphlets: "The new enemies" by Ryo Kato at Galerie Falkenberg
BY DANIEL ALEXANDER BACH

Flames of red, orange, and yellow are thickly applied and seem to twitch on the canvas, as if the coarse lines and bright colors scream at the viewer. They are so loud that the subtle details in this painting can only be recognized upon a second glance. For example, the vanishing lines in the background are not the rails of Auschwitz, but rather the supply lines of a chicken farm.

Or that the bearded guy's features above resemble those of the smiling old man in the Kentucky Fried Chicken logo. "The Taste of Agony" is the title of this painting by Ryo Kato.

Distasteful? The proximity of the motif to Holocaust iconography is likely no coincidence.
Anyone reflecting upon the paintings on display at Galerie Falkenberg by the Japanese artist, who has been living in Berlin since the 1990, realizes: Kato is a master of the art of provocation; he employs coarse lines to demand attention to the equally coarse natural and environmental destruction, to the violations of animal and human rights standards – "The New Enemies”. Hence the title of the exhibition.

As you can see from his mostly large format paintings: Kato is an engaged painter. And when you look at the subtleties, beyond the shrill colors shouting out from his paintings , you can also see: Kato is an excellent craftsman who combines the bold techniques of action painting, impasto, spraying or dripping techniques in sublime ways with fine watercolor techniques and figures in often psychedelically distorted colors.

In "Taste Of Agony," you can even discover plucked chicken on the assembly line - and hens anxiously looking down at a shredder for male chicks. An artist who turns his works into such piercing statements must be pretty well concerned by the dark sides of the agricultural industry. But Ryo Kato pretty well captured them too.

And it is not only the agrobusiness that Ryo Kato takes to task. Other paintings similarly castigate the production of biofuels in third world countries, which is mostly at the expense of the poor country’s population ("Corn Craze") and take on big-game hunting, the killing of fur animals, or the climate catastrophe. At the edge of the picture "The Chain of Forest Destruction," Kato even uses thick red paint to cross out "cattle keeping", "biofuels", and "meat consumption". And "thesis paper".

What is astonishing is not only Ryo Kato's synthesis of demonstrative dilettantism and excellent craftsmanship, but also the success that the 36-year-old artist has had with his painted pamphlets.

This master student of the class of Daniel Richter at UDK Berlin has already exhibited across Europe and Asia, but his works had not yet been shown in Hannover: definitely a good reason to visit Galerie Falkenberg.

Art of provocation: "The Taste of Torment" by Ryo Kato.

Newspaper article in "Sanyoushinbun" (Japan)

When he stands in front of the canvas, his facial expression changes immediately. Yellow, violet, red... sometimes delicately, sometimes boldly he applies the oil paints one upon the other in order to express the complex and entangled relationships of contemporary society.

The violent brushwork seems to reflect the rage and grief of his inner world. Berlin-based contemporary artist Ryo Kato (34) won the first place of the "I-Shi" prize from Okayama in 2011. His "The 5th I-Shi Prize Special Exhibition" is currently taking place at the municipal art museum Niimi, his hometown.

As a tribute to his home, he paints publicly at the place of the exhibition.

Directly after finishing Gakugeikan high school, he relocated to Europe. In Germany, a country very advanced in ecological matters, he pursues his art containing messages on environmental protection.

Ryo Kato has chosen "environmental problems in Japan" as the subject of this public performance because he feels threatened by the nuclear power plant disaster in Fukushima and by today's state of Japan, where more and more destruction of the environment is taking place. On July 7th his work will be finished.

He says: "If Japan is compared with Germany, environmental awareness among the Japanese is still very low. That is why I would like to create work which can strongly affect the feelings of the Japanese.”

Winning the I-Shi Prize (an award for young artists, which was established through a donation by Mr. Itou of Kyosera Group) became an important turning point for his activities in Japan. Ryo Kato would like to push forward in exhibiting his art in Japan. This special exhibition will take place until August 4th. A total of 18 works are shown, including the work „Colosseum“, which won the I-Shi Prize. The Museum is closed on Mondays except on the July 15th. (Masanori Akasawa)

Newspaper article in "Sanyoushinbun" (Japan)

An urgent warning against environmental problems
Niimi Museum special exhibition of Ryo Kato

On July 4th the special exhibition opened (supported from Sanyo-Shinbun) for the "5th I-Shi Prize" at the Niimi Museum, featuring works by Berlin-based contemporary artist Ryo Kato.

The eighteen colorful works of art with their strong message regarding environmental problems and nature matters will be on exhibit until August 4th.

Ryo Kato originates from Tessei-Chou Oonobe. Right after completion of his art courses at the Okayama Gakugeikan high school, he moved to Europe. Since then he has been living and working in Germany; this is first exhibition in Japan. The oil paintings on exhibition include his work "Colosseum", which won the I-Shi Prize in 2011. The work visualizes the confrontation between humans and nature. The painting "Food chain" focuses on forest destruction and global warming. Another of his works is titled "The Japanese demonstration against nuclear power plants".

His individual style – a way of painting figures and landscapes on top of each other akin to collage – radiates a strong energy that overwhelms its viewers. Mr. Shirou Nagoshi from Teesei-Chou Ootake commented, "The themes of his works are deep and complicated, but I would like to go and see the exhibition several times and look at the works with a lot of time." On the same day Kato also began his public painting performance. He will complete this new work by July 7th.

Newspaper article in "Bihokuminpou" (Japan)

Paintings on environmental problems in an individual style – solo exhibition of Ryo Kato from Tessei-Cho

The first exhibition in Japan of the contemporary artist Ryo Kato (34) from Tessei-Cho Oonobe opens on July 4th at the Niimi Museum. The eighteen oil paintings on exhibit address the issue of environmental problems. These individual and colourful paintings were painted in a special, original technique.

He graduated as a master scholar from the Berlin University of the Arts and works and lives in Berlin. The Nimii Museum and the Municipal Commission are exhibiting his works as a result of Ryo Kato's win of the the 5th "I-Shi" award. The "I-Shi" award was established for young artists with ties to Okayama.

After museum owner Yoshihiro Hashimoto and school director Nakata's welcoming address at the opening, Ryo Kato gave an introduction to his art. He said that "The Japanese Demonstration Against Nuclear Power Plants II" (150 x 200 cm), a work from this year, contains the following ideas: "Before one-sidedly criticising nuclear power plants and demanding a ban on them, such as in Japan, one should first consider the waste of electricity by decorative lighting, vending machines and 24-hour shops."

The picture "Colosseum" (180 x 300 cm), which won him the "I-Shi" prize, uses the metaphor of the games in the Roman Colosseum to portray the struggle of mankind that results in the destruction of nature. People are depicted as mere spectators without further interest in environmental issues.

Ryo Kato says, "For every work I chose a different method of conveying my message. I hope that the visitors take their time looking at my works and get inspired to think about environmental problems." For the first time, Ryo Kato showed in public how he paints. He not only uses the brush but also the palette knife, the spatula brush and the rubber spatula, and at times he seems to strike the canvas when he paints. The spectators were impressed by his style of painting. He will paint at the museum until July 7th. All visitors are invited to watch. (Doi)

Newspaper article in "Sanyoushinbun" (Japan)

Social And Environmental Problems In Art

Contemporary artist Ryo Kato from Niimi
His first solo exhibition in his home country opens today

The special exhibition of contemporary artist Ryo Kato from Niimi (34 years old, living in Berlin), who is exhibiting for the first time in Japan, begins on July 4th 2013 at the Niimi Museum.
His painting "Colosseum", (winner of the 5th I-Shi Prize), as well as eighteen current works, will be exhibited until 4 August 2013.
The artist was born in Niimi, completed art courses from Okayama Gakugeikan High School, emigrated to Europe, studied art at Berlin University of the Arts, and graduated as a master scholar.
Germany is currently the centre of his life and work. He mainly exhibits his works there, works which concern themselves with environmental problems in the field of contemporary art.
In the picture “Colosseum”, people observing the clash between humankind and nature with disinterest are depicted as spectators in a colosseum in Ancient Rome.

Now shown in Japan for the first time, these works strongly criticize social problems, demonstrations against nuclear power plants in Japan, air pollution and so on.
According to museum curator Shigeki Fuji, the entirely new kind of expression of criticism in his works leaves a strong impression. With some of his works you could feel that the artist is thinking about Japan, even though he lives in Berlin. “I would encourage visitors to take their time exploring the pictures.”
The opening ceremony starts at 9:30. Ryo Kato will comment on his works from 10:00, and he invites you to join his daily painting performance at the museum until April 7.

Newspaper article in "IserlohnerKreisanzeiger" (Germany)

"Big food" and "Scandals in the Sea"

Jutta Bengelsträter presents the Japanese artist, Ryo Kato, and 30 of his large-format paintings in the Parktheater gallery. The Berlin-based painter will be coming to the exhibition’s opening on Sunday.
- Cornellia Merkel

Iserlohn. “Ryo Kato is the first Japanese artist to have received one of his country's highest art awards and will this year, for the first time, exhibit his art in a museum in his homeland;” Jutta Bengelsträter is proud to have been showing the Berlin-based artist’s works for several years in her gallery’s program.

On Sunday, February 10th, at 11 o'clock, the artist himself will be coming to the exhibition’s opening ceremony in the Iserlohner Parktheater, which will, in cooperation with the Bengelsträter Gallery, be presenting 30 of his large-format paintings.

„Ryo Kato has dedicated himself to a unique painting style, which was influenced by his mentor Daniel Richter,” explains gallery owner Jutta Bengelsträter. “The relationship between man and nature, along with the threat from humanity is ever-present in his work. Whilst coming to a comprehension of his paintings, we find minutely and realistically painted scenes. Through the use of complex compositions, Kato inspires us to attentively search and discover and, resultantly, not only achieves a higher regard for his art but also prompts us to being thinking about a more responsible society.”

The in 1978 Niimi born artist who has been living and working in Berlin since his art studies is an extremely political artist, as his painting’s crass titles already suggest. In harsh and wild pictorial worlds such as “Big Food,” “Scandals in the Sea,” “Hunter and Consumer,” and “Fight without Winners,” he slams environmental pollution, war, ‘consumption mania,’ world hunger, and animal cruelty throughout the world’s countries. Ryo Kato combines expressive motifs and symbols in his multi-facetted, apocalyptic images with unusually entwined ornamentation and rampant diversity of form. “The Last Supper” is a famous art motif not only because Leonardo da Vinci immortalized Jesus and his disciples through it. Ryo Kato’s “The Last Supper of the Present” implies references to the G-9 world economy summit and calls attention to environmental pollution and hunger around the globe. He also juxtaposes untouched landscapes with destroyed human and animal habitats in his paintings “Oil Sanding Industry in Canada” and “Struggle for Survival in the Rainforest,” “Fur Queen vs. Poacher King” and “Hippos do not like to Fight.”

The exhibition will be open to viewing until the 28th of April on all presentation days - always one hour before beginning - as well as upon consultation with the cultural office. Further, a catalog which introduces the artist’s complex and confounding pictorial worlds will be available. Entrance is free of charge. The vernissage will be musically accompanied by saxophonist Charly Janke.

Newspaper article in "Bihokuminpou" (Japan)

"I am glad that my efforts have been worthwhile."

Ryo Kato (from Tessei-chou, Oonobe) won the first prize.

The fifth presentation of the I-Shi Prize for the advancement of emerging artists of Okayama Prefecture took place in a hotel in Okayama City on March 22nd. Ryo Kato, who won the first prize, came to the presentation from Germany to accept the certificate and prize money from Governor Ishii. Kato will stay in his homeland until tomorrow, March 24th.

The I-Shi prize is awarded to emerging artists with roots in the Okayama Prefecture, and comes with opportunities for exhibition. The declared goal of this award is promoting next-generation artists. The award was made possible by a donation from Kensuke Itou (advisor for Kyocera). The selection procedure is conducted by the management committee of the Okayama Prefecture and the curators of the city museum.

This year, 39 artists were proposed by the committee members, 10 of which were favoured after the first selection stage (the document review). Between January 24th and February 5th, 2012, the works of these candidates were shown at the selection exhibition at Tenjinyama Cultural Plaza in Okayama City.

Ryo Kato, whose topic is environmental issues, exhibited his work "Colosseo" (180x300cm), in which nature and people are depicted as fighting against each other and in which other people with disregard for environmental issues are shown as spectators of this struggle. His work was rated highly by the jury: his painting boasts overwhelming energy, beautiful and painterly colour, and expressive motifs. In addition, it was pointed out as worthy of attention that his work expresses a clear social awareness and a concept presented in appealing form.

Attending the presentation, apart from Ryo Kato, were two more prize winners, the members of the committee, altogether about 50 people involved in arts from the prefecture. Governor Ishii presented Ryo Kato with the certificate and the prize money of 3 million Yen (about 25.000 €) and commented: "His work contains sociopolitical awareness and impressive colour and significance. I hope for his future success. I am also happy that an artist from Okayama is active internationally."

In his acceptance speech, Ryo Kato stressed that he is glad that his efforts to make environmental issues clear to people with his art have been worthwhile. "Having won this prize, I would like to make efforts to put my pictures on exhibit in Japan, too."
Ryo Kato brought his daughter (19 months of age) with him to Japan. He will spend today (March 23rd) and tomorrow in his hometown; on March 28th he will return to Germany.

Newspaper article in "IserlohnerKreisanzeiger" (Germany)

Newspaper article in "Mainichishinbun"

Newspaper article in "Welt" (Germany)

Magazine article in "Tango" (Germany)

Japanese Delicacies

Chaos rules the world depicted in Ryo Kato's paintings; color and form ceremoniously leap at each other. Deep within sceneries of color, subject and abstract grapple with one another. The reason for his creating art: the relationship between humanity and nature.

Environmental catastrophes that overpower us, along with humanity’s destructive exploitation of the earth, are the main themes of the predominantly large canvases. The Japanese artist’s works will be on display at the Anne Moerchen gallery until the 22nd of January.

Newspaper article in "Live (evening paper)" (Germany)

Newspaper article in "Odenwaldkreis" (Germany)

Newspaper article in "Westdeutsche Zeitung" (Germany)

Sommerfrische in Galerien                                                                     
Von Helga Meister

Kunst kennt keine Ferien. Das zeigt der Rundgang auch durch die Neuzugänge.
Der Zuzug neuer Galerien hält an. Von Wirtschaftsflaute oder Ferienstimmung ist nichts zu spüren. Hier gibt es ein paar Empfehlungen:

Ryo Kato ist Meisterschüler des Kult-Künstlers Daniel Richter, und auf den ersten Blick sieht man Gemeinsamkeiten: Lehrer wie Ex-Schüler üben Kritik an der Welt, aber Kato liebt überbordende Motive. Da kotzt die Katze, ist der Leopard nur noch Fellhülle, sitzt der Affe auf einem Pulverfass oder läuft durch ein Reststück Wald. Teufel, Masken und Gespenster und ein Pferd ohne apokalyptische Reiter schieben sich durch die Szenen. Ein blutendes Buch, ein Hamburger mit Dolch, dampfende Industrie-Schlote und gestrandete Vögel gibt es auf den Explosionsbildern.

Galerie Bengelsträter Cecilienallee 39, do + fr 18 bis 21, sa 11 bis 15 Uhr

Newspaper article in "Rheinische Post" (Germany)

Newspaper article in "Welt" (Germany)