In this installation, space is filled up with lines. I first created an installation like this in 2005 for an exhibition at the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art in Toyota, Aichi prefecture. When I was trying to figure out how to fill the massive space I was assigned, I came up with the idea of using hula hoops. I had already been creating art using hula hoops, as they are interesting to me as ready-made goods known all over the world. They come in different colors in different countries and are used by both children and adults.
At one point when I was looking at the hoops, I realized that they are not only circles but also lines. By modifying the peg that connects the ends of each hoop to make a circle, it is possible to connect the end of one hoop to the end of another and keep connecting hoops infinitely. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the connections between people have been disrupted and weakened, so in revisiting my work, I came to see a visual expression of the idea that our world is made up of “connections” – something that is very clear to us all. Realizing this hula hoop exhibition remotely from Japan has offered me new challenges as an artist. Using technology to direct the installation process has encouraged me to reimagine distance and connection in this new age and realize the potential to create beyond our immediate surroundings.
Kengo Kito, June 2021
Episode 1 | A Contemporary Approach
Japanese contemporary artist Kengo Kito trained in painting at Nagoya University of Fine Arts and Music, but he is best known for repurposing daily objects into colorful conceptual installations. Through interviews with Kito, viewers will learn about his recent work in Japan, his process, inspirations and goals as an artist, and how working with hula hoops has enabled him to explore lines, circles and space and the interconnectivity of all people.
Episode 2 | Reflecting Traditional Ideas
Although a contemporary artist’s work might be made with modern materials, styles and techniques, it can still connect deeply with traditional ideas and beliefs. In his work with hula hoops, Kito explores the relationship between lines and circles and space, three elements that have long been a focus in Zen Buddhist philosophy, art and practice. This video describes the importance of these elements in Zen Buddhist traditions and draws parallels between Kito’s work today and the art forms and practices that have been part of Zen Buddhism for centuries.
Episode 3 | Creating a Future Legacy
Kengo Kito's exhibition RECONNECTING at the JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles gallery and at Westfield Century City was his first hula hoop installation in the U.S., and, due to travel restrictions, it had to be directed remotely from Japan. This “making of” video shows how he and the JHLA staff faced this challenge and includes clips of Kito working with his students at Kyoto University of the Arts, where he currently teaches a future generation of artists. Watch Kito engage with his Japanese students in Kyoto and remotely with audiences in the US to build a future legacy of creating connections through art.