Chaco Kato is an inter-disciplinary artist working across sculpture, drawing, installation and community-based projects. Collaboration and negotiation are crucial tenets of her work, with collective actions and communal discourse often performing as the primary material of her work.
Kato's ambitious projects are often catalysed by simple impulses and frameworks, including reciprocity, negotiation and craft practices of weaving and knotting. These processes open up an intimate space, providing a rich dialogue with everyday materials and processes. Informed by the spirit of punk, the aesthetics of bricolage and 'rhizomatic' systems outlined by theorists and philosophers Deleuze and Guattari, Kato is drawn to working with elements of chaos and order, which importantly all share common principles with zen philosophy.
Kato's foundational beliefs were germinated during her childhood growing up in Japan, a place where Buddhist philosophies permeate even contemporary Japanese society. Her interest in Zen and Taoism, developed later in life, have further evolved her thinking around core explorations of 'impermanency' and the idea of everything existing in a constant state of flux. Japanese philosophies that confront our understandings of space and honour 'nothingness' are important bases for all of her work to-date.
Kato's practice exists in a state of constant encounters: encounters with new spatial situations, encounters with new social contexts and encounters with new materials and processes. Parallel to this, recurring sites of inquiry revolve around social, psychological and environmental systems and structures. A wealth of recurring symbols and processes punctuate Kato's work, including the notion of the 'weed', the 'other', weaving of space and community, fermentation, composting and germination. These processes sustain a uniquely responsive methodology to seasons, environments, social contexts and opportunity. She is particularly focussed on the erosion of binary approaches to the world, challenging the artist / non-artist hierarchy and collapsing material hierarchies. In this way Kato actively deploys her practice as a political tool.
Kato's work openly embraces and questions the world. She embeds art in everyday life and habituates new ways of thinking and experiencing the world.
photo by Sooji Kim