Amusement Romana Press Release

Dates

March 6—April 3, 2004

The gallery is pleased to present the work of Japanese Los Angeles-based artist Yutaka Sone. This will be the artist's second solo exhibition at David Zwirner. Sone will participate in this year's Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He represented Japan at last year's La Biennale di Venezia, and also had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Jungle Island. His work has been widely exhibited internationally, most recently at the 25th Biennial de Sao Paulo in Brazil, and at the 13th Biennale of Sydney in Australia.

Yutaka Sone works in a variety of media, with an emphasis on sculpture. His work is project-oriented, rooted in performance, and defies easy categorization. Born and raised in Japan, the artist does not exploit his heritage and his work is hard to locate culturally. Sone's extensive travels in the 90's and his tendency to establish connections between extremely diverse groups and cultures have left a lasting impression on his creative output. In 2000, Sone moved to Los Angeles. The landscape of California and his new experiences there have certainly influenced his work, most notably his series of four marble Highway Junctions exhibited at MOCA last year.

For this exhibition, Sone has created a gigantic sculpture called Amusement Romana. In the mid-90's, Yutaka Sone became very interested in amusement, or "artificial entertainment" as he puts it, and the tension between the absence and presence of human beings in these amusement objects. Originally conceived for a group exhibition to be held at the Villa Medici in Rome, this work was designed in the form of a rollercoaster with very extreme curves, to be built out of brick. Exploring issues of amusement; the city and art as a playground; intuition; collaboration; changing visions; etc., this sculpture was inspired specifically by the history and geography of Rome. As the artist stated: "This sculpture is a toy and at the same time a playground. If amusement is as indispensable as food for human life–the Roman emperors provided bread and circuses at the same time–Amusement Romana is a place for people to elicit an individual sense of pleasure here and now".

During his attempts to have the sculpture realized, Amusement Romana became an important motif in the artist's oeuvre and has surfaced in many drawings, sculptures and paintings he has made during the last five years. The prototype of Amusement Romana was exhibited three years after its first drawings were made, in 2001, at an outdoor sculpture exhibition in a private park near Bielefeld, Germany. This prototype was perfected for the artist’s solo exhibition in 2002 at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, in Toyota City, Japan, where it became the center piece in a retrospective exhibition, focusing on Sone's sculptures. For the exhibition at David Zwirner, Sone has modified his original design and the sculpture is painted in very light-blue/white faux-brick, giving the sculpture an aerial and light presence, despite its monumentality: "Amusement Romana is a sculpture of the sky as well. The sky is part of past history and leads to the future".

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