Michiko Itatani:
Personal Codes: Virtual Cube in the Kitchen

September 5 – October 10, 2021

Reception for the Artist
Sunday, September 5, 4:00 – 7:00 P.M.

“Tesseract Study” painting from Cosmic Encounter 19-D-18, 2019, 42 x 34 inches, oil on canvas.

 

Fourteen billion years ago our observable universe explodes into existence. A billion years after this Big Bang, we see the dawn of the Milky Way; and the dark ages of the universe make way for light. Under our sun’s glow, a large stone is brought into the childhood home of Michiko Itatani’s father. A young artist, lit by night stars, ponders this lithic mass’ inexplicable and prominent placement in the kitchen center. The plain questions of why and how become can this even be understood, and these questions circle back upon themselves—this is the nature of mysteries, uncertainty, and the unfathomable. In 1888, Charles Howard Heston describes the tesseract, a term mathematicians assert to be the four-dimensional analogue of the cube. Time moves forward, and the figurative sculptor, Alberto Giacometti, completes Le Cube in 1934, a twelve-sided polyhedron with seemingly perfect form that is, in fact, geometrically irregular. In 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads rapidly across the globe, and this pandemic continues with no apparent end.

Our world is gaining pace, and Michiko Itatani urgently seeks to slow us down. This is the only way we might understand.

In a professional career spanning over forty-five years, Michiko Itatani returns to persistent and puzzling childhood memories. These are quandaries that manifest in our domestic spaces, repeat themselves in science and mathematics, reappear in art, and these are questions our world speeds past without answers. With a cosmic sense of time and space, Itatani develops a set of personal codes that guide us through a virtual cube in the kitchen.

Michiko Itatani is a Chicago-based artist who was born in Osaka, Japan. After she received her BFA (1974) and MFA (1976) at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she returned to her alma mater in 1979 to teach in the Painting and Drawing department. Itatani has received the Illinois Arts Council Artist’s Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is collected in many museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Olympic Museum, Switzerland; Villa Haiss Museum, Germany; Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Canada; Museu D’art Contemporani (MACBA), Spain; Hyogo Prefecture Art Museum, Japan; and the National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea.