Living in a world of faster turnout in production, consumerism and shoe-box offices, Japanese-American Alex Ito introduces the corporate lifestyle through his thought-provoking exhibitions that tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on Decent Work and Economic Growth and Reduced Inequalities.
Ito is a New-York based post-war contemporary artist who tackles the late stage of capitalism and assimilates his experience as a person of Japanese-American descent. A titillating detail of Ito’s work is its minimalist and clean disposition— stripped raw, leaving a vulnerable yet polished, formal look.
In an article for Affidavit, he personally wrote about his Japanese grandfather’s experience as a Japanese-American and wove it to the invisibility of minorities and the erasure of their culture, rights and even their lives in a time where technology plays both a significant and detrimental role.
As prejudice towards Asians continues to skyrocket, Ito could not help but speak up:
“Solidarity doesn’t begin with an Instagram square or a catchy hashtag. It begins with considering our implication in the violence inflicted upon others. It begins with decentering oneself to share our time, bodies, and space to protect and support communities in need. To the Asian Americans who are in pain, I’m hurting with you. To those who fear for their lives, only in solidarity with Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities will we be able to establish real networks of care to resist the violence of White hegemony.”
In 2016, The Crucible’s Nest exhibition featured a coffee table with an intricate decanter and taxidermied rat trapped in a clear glass. The aluminum sculpture houses another glass sculpture with hanging taxidermied rats. The perpendicular wall contains a set of paintings that references the decanter with various quotes to denote the theme of the exhibition. Lastly, a reclining chair with aluminum poking it sits on the corner of the room.
The AA| LA describes The Crucible´s Nest as a piece that “challenges the hegemony of beauty and comfort while exposing its underlying emptiness and delicate violence”.
It critiques the obscure impact of everyday inanimate objects on the quality of life while it reveals the discomfort in comfort. Additionally, it mirrors how people adapt to their surroundings in this dog-eats-dog world.
One of his most recent works is Half Life, an exhibition that contains a sculptural assemblage made out of collecting different memorabilias. The lower level plays his film that captured the nuclear waste practices in the American Southwest.
It addresses the absurdity of human life as it navigates its way through the modalities of moral decay and environmental degradation. At the same time posits the juxtaposition between complacency in inaction and the urgency of action.
In an interview about his art and working process, he said, “My goal isn’t to predict where we are going. I want my work to inspire opportunity of thought and criticism rather than define and frame the futures of others.”
Ito is currently a director for Chen’s World together with Howie Chen where they feature other artists. For more information about Chen’s World, you can check it out at this website.
If you are interested in Alex Ito’s work, you can check them out on his website.