photo: SUEMASA Mareo

New Type 2005 − green

ArtistKITAGAWA Hiroto
Material/ Techniqueterracotta, acrylic paint
Size/ DurationH171×W38×D44cm
Copyright Notice© KITAGAWA Hiroto
Year of acquisition/ donation2006
DescriptionBorn in Shiga, Japan in 1967. Lives and works in Tokyo.

Graduating from the sculpture depar tment at Kanazawa College of Art in 1989, Kitagawa Hiroto felt no interest at all in the monumental outdoor sculptures so popular in Japan at that time. He therefore left to study in Italy, where the art of figurative sculpture he had long felt drawn to still thrived. In Italy, Kitagawa encountered the ancient sculptural technique of terracotta and came under its spell. Mastering it, he began producing his “New Type” series of slender human figures resembling Japanese anime characters. Since his 2005 return, he has furthermore undertaken a “Post-New Type” series and pioneered a unique world of sculpted figures colored with acrylic paint, a medium that brings out the warm texture of the clay.

Kitagawa Hiroto discovers possibilities for realizing a new kind of creature in the figure and casual attitudes of the ordinary young people seen in the crowds and congestion of Japanese cities. As the flesh to embody contemporary man’s floating identity as a being who is still evolving, Kitagawa has chosen low-fire terracotta clay, the ceramic material closest to earth. To bring out the clay’s texture, he colors his figures with acrylic paint after firing them. The surface of the terracotta easily absorbs the water-base acrylic paint, and hence, the natural texture of the clay can be maintained as it is, without a membrane of paint forming over it. "New Type 2003 – black" is the representative work of Kitagawa’s Italian period. His “New Type 2005” series is the first group of life-size figures he undertook upon returning to Japan in 2005, after 14 years of creative production in Italy. It also embodies one natural conclusion of his “New Type” work. He has christened the roughly 170-centimeter tall figures white, green, blue, and dress after the color or principal feature of their clothing. They may at first appear blank of expression, but while ephemeral, they stand proudly with a somehow oddly nostalgic air.