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Momoyo Torimitsu

Jane Kim / Thrust Projects
114 Bowery #301, Between Grand and Hester, 212-431-4802
East Village / Lower East Side
March 28 - May 16, 2009
Reception: Saturday, March 28, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Jane Kim / Thrust Projects is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Momoyo Torimitsu. One of the most prominent artists to come out of Japan in the late 90’s, Torimitsu creates sculptures, installations, videos and photographs that force the viewer to reconsider the effect of capitalism in daily life, the hypocritical imagery of corporate culture; the media stereotypes of happiness, cuteness, and smiling; and the global obsession with consumerism. Torimitsu presents exaggerations of cultural commentary that are simultaneously humorous and disturbing through a vibrant style that is a mélange of energetic pop and hyper realism. Realizing that Torimitsu’s exaggerations expose a cultural truth, viewers experience a discourse between the desire to laugh and a feeling of unsettlement that forces them to reevaluate their role in the acceptance of these social norms.

Momoyo Torimitsu’s exhibition at Jane Kim/Thrust Projects addresses America’s consumption of products through two related parts. Scattered across the gallery floor are 100 resin small sculptures imitating melted chocolate Easter bunnies. Torimitsu’s bunnies serve as a commentary on the commodity fetishism born from the annual U.S. holiday industry. Like their hollow bodies, the bunnies are void of their mythic meaning and theological connotations. The purchase of chocolate Easter bunnies has become automatic; people are programmed to buy them since they’re “available for a limited time only,” causing the Easter bunnies to symbolize the country’s sacred ritual of consumerism. Given the current state of the economy, these bunnies embody the desperation that urges the purchaser to buy! Buy! BUY! in order to uphold the foundations of capitalism.

Joining the bunnies, Torimitsu’s Chihuahuas stare blankly at the gallery’s visitors. Hand-sculpted in clay, these sculptures reflect upon the recent celebrity fixation of keeping small dogs as accessories and status symbols. This trend has trickled down the social hierarchy to such a degree that grooming centers and dog hotels have sprouted across cities to cater to these pets. One Chihuahua sits on the chair, taking the place from the owner or the visitor. The Chihuahua’s vacant stare and the grotesque deformities of the bunnies confront the viewer, asking whether objectification actually limits the role of the buyer by enslaving him within a procylical system.

Momoyo Torimitsu is a New York City-based artist who has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide. Raised in Japan, she came to NY in 1997 with her now celebrated international project of Miyata Jiro, the crawling robot of a stereotypical Japanese businessman. She has gone on to create projects that address timely social and global issues. Horizons (2004) provide a visual commentary on the American War in Iraq (Swiss Institute NY, 2004). Inside track (2004) pits three businessmen robots in a global business death match (Deitch Projects NY, 2004). In Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable (2000), she put two oversized inflatable balloon bunnies in a small room, symbolizing Japan’s cuteness culture (My Reality, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 2001). Torimitsu is also concerned with the relationship that the viewer forms with her work. In Never Forever (2004), the artist coated the walls of an exhibition room in clay and allowed visitors to alter her work or contribute their own to create a continually changing and evolving project of public art. Torimitsu’s most recent work was collaboration with the computer generated imagery lab at University of Singapore called Smile (2008), a cultural and political examination of how we smile.
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