Ecstasy Journey by Koichi Sato: Wan Chai

26 March - 8 April 2019

To mark the opening of the store, WOAW joins forces with Ross + Krammer & Bill Brady Gallery to bring an exclusive series of Koichi Sato’s latest paintings and a pop-up exhibition.


In his latest paintings, Koichi Sato embarks on what he calls an “ecstasy journey”. His signature bulky figures join the viewer on this journey, seeming to erupt from everywhere but New York City, where the artist is based in real life.


Sato’s journey has a colorful cast: priests, camels, pharaohs, luchadores, flamenco dancers — even the Virgin Mary is along for the trip. The paintings take place in an undefined “elsewhere”, breaking away from the traditional witnessing aspect of figuration to focus instead on an artist’s imaginative plea for escape from the oppressive nature of day to day life in New York.


The use of pattern on the figures’ clothing overflows into the negative space of the image, creating a feel of compression of time and space to underline the dreamlike state of each painting. Just as the viewer loses track of what is part of each distinct figure’s arm, or foliage, or sky, he or she loses track of where exactly these figures exist and who they are. The imaginative quality is again underlined in the bold use of color. Symbolic golden yellow suns and halos lead us from scene to scene of Sato’s journey, always returning us to the happy figures that, while they don’t always have mouths, always seem to smile.