2015 / LA Art Show / Hiroshima sculptor turns atomic-bombing survival wood into airplane figure, Jan 14-18

Toshimitsu Ito Flight AA60

Toshimitsu Ito, the Flight AA60, 2012, wood, stone, 406 x 412 x 160 cm. (Cultural News Photo)

LA Art Show  / January 14 -18

Saturday, January 17, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. / Sunday, January 18, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Los Angeles Convention Center, South Hall J &K / Tickets: $20     www.laartshow.com

Osaka’s Tachibana Gallery (booth 410, 509) is exhibiting the Flight AA60 (2012, wood, stone, 406 x 412 x 160 cm), a large airplane-shaped wooden sculpture by Toshimitsu Ito of Hiroshima.

Historically, sculptors have portrayed humans and animals in materials such as wood, stone, and steel. Landscape, however, is problematic for sculpture.

One day, Ito who is living in Hiroshima realized that Miyajima Island, seen from the mainland, resembled a mouse. This inspired him to recast his sculptures in forms based on his memories of particular landscapes, and to incorporate impressionistic elements in his works.

The Flight AA60 consists mainly of Douglas fir imported from the U.S. to Japan in the 1930s, which survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

The Douglas fir lumber was first imported to Japan in the 1930s, and in 1941 it was used as the beams in the gymnasium construction of the then Hiroshima Higher Teacher College (currently Hiroshima National University)

On August 6, 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the gymnasium was located only four kilometers from the ground zero.

The window glass and roof tiles of the gymnasium were blown away, but the building remained standing. The building was repaired and remained in use for nearly half a century until it was dismantled in June 1955.

In the late 1990s, Hiroshima City University professor Ito was given one of the beams. After keeping it for a dozen years, Ito used the timber to create this huge sculpture.

The theme of the Flight AA60 is the landscape of the American Southwest. Instead of a traditional painter’s frame, Ito uses the figure of the American Airlines’ airplane which actually brought him from Narita, Japan to Dallas, Texas in 2012.

The scenery includes the desert and cacti of Arizona and the mesas of Texas as seen from an airplane window.

With the Flight AA60, he has been able to convey scenery via sculpture. Thanks to Ito’s work, one day people may look at a beautiful landscape and say, “It looks like a sculpture.”