Tuesday, 6 July 2010
KOTA EZAWA: HOTEL CALIFORNIA
Kota Ezawa, Still from Home Video (2001)
KOTA EZAWA HOTEL CALIFORNIA
4 October – 18 November 2007
Kota Ezawa’s distinctive videos translate images from popular television, film and photographic sources into highly stylised and compelling animations. Reminiscent of classic movie cartoons as well as Pop art and the work of American artist Alex Katz, Ezawa’s short videos use simplified forms and bold, flat colour to painterly effect. Ezawa himself has described how ‘I feel that I’m in the business of making moving paintings more than making videos with a beginning and an end.’ His signature style is a kind of digital approximation of paper cut-out animation, as Ezawa painstakingly reconstructs his source material by drawing over a series of key frames. Producing many hundreds of drawings for each work, he then uses animation software to convert these still images back to the screen.
Neither a digital artist nor strictly an animator, Ezawa instead describes himself as ‘a mixture between a DJ and a figurative constructivist painter. I see the work that I produce as abstractions of found and sampled films, videos and photographs.’ Ezawa’s source material, often sampled from well-known blockbuster movies, iconic films or news footage, is as flat and deadpan as his graphic style, his subjects over-exposed and, as he calls them, ‘hollowed-out’. Yet in translating recorded film into animation, Ezawa describes how he has ‘discovered that animation is in a way more realistic than camera recorded footage. While camera photographed imagery suggests that the viewer is experiencing a recorded reality, animation points to the surface of the image (the TV screen displaying colour and motion) which is closer to the reality that the viewer experiences.’
Kota Ezawa was born in 1969 in Cologne, Germany. He currently works and lives in San Francisco.
Hayward Gallery / Southbank Centre website
Kota Ezawa video on Youtube
Kota Ezawa MoMA gallery talk audio