Art Writer from Japan Bites Europe 2 – Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is less than 3 hours from Denmark, Copenhagen airport by plane. It is easy to walk as the streets are laid out in a grid pattern although there are good subways and bus connections.
Barcelona History and Geography
Barcelona, is a northeastern city of Spain, which is said to be founded by a Greek mythology hero, Hercules. The city is also well-known by Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. As well as Kobe, Barcelona lies between the mountains and the sea and is warmer in winter. (But it was cold when I went). Barcelona has currently a population of about 1.62 million people and is the largest city of commerce and industry in Spain.
Interview: Mari Ito, Artist
Mari Ito is a Japanese artist. She was born in Tokyo and has been living nearly 10 years in Barcelona. Currently, she belongs to two galleries in Japan while she creates artworks to exhibit and participate Art Fairs.
Why do you live in Barcelona?
During I was studying at Joshibi University（女子美術大学）, I decided to go to Austria to study abroad. Although once I arrived, I realised that I didn't have the feeling for there. So I came back to Japan and changed the destination to Barcelona. It was so nice for me that I continued to live and work as an artist since then.
What kind of artworks you create?
My concept is “the roots of desire of the humans” and I create 2D and 3D works. Mainly I use the pigments for Japanese-style painting （日本画/Nihon-ga) which is made from a rock. The characteristics of Japanese pigments are, unlike European ones, they make more than 10 kinds of different pigments from one piece of stone according to the size of the particles.
Depending on the particle, it largely changes brightness and saturation, which gives the width on the expression. I buy more than 90% of the pigments from Japan and the rest from Spain and France. I draw flower looking motifs with a lot of details and colours with these pigments.
You are Japanese, I think it is hard to live in Barcelona.
That’s not true. The artists in my studio have a good relationship, inviting to the exhibition and introducing the art-related guests to each other. Everyone has its own pace. Some artists rest on Saturdays and Sundays, others work during the late night every day.
Compare to Japan, Barcelona has a good access to other countries in Europe. So it is easy to consider having exhibitions in other countries. Weather is good and the cuisine is delicious. Barcelona is a very nice place and many interesting things happen, I think.
I want to see your artworks, where can I see them?
At the exhibitions in Barcelona and Japan, and I also exhibit in the art fairs around the world. I like everyone to look at the “real” artworks and to decorate them in your home.
Spain has great artists such as Picasso and Miro. Their museums are good but also the architectures of Richard Meier catch your attention. I recommend two contemporary museums and art center. At MACBA, Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (http://www.macba.cat/en/), you can see the diversity of contemporary art.
CCCB, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (http://www.cccb.org/en/) has exhibitions and performing arts events as well as visual arts.
From Journalist Chisai’s eye
Barcelona. I was imagining the powerful city because of the Olympic Game and Catalonia´s (Catalunya) independence.
However, “REAL” Barcelona was different and looks like an old city. In that city, Ito-san is trying to create a new era, like a football player. I want to know her "invisible goal".
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