Posted On: April 1, 2011

Kota Ezawa

Kota Ezawa’s new film City of Nature knits together fleeting, split-second excerpts of popular films in which flora and fauna are featured characters, offering a six-minute cinematic comment on the juxtapositions between nature and culture in narrative mass media.

Incorporating roughly seventy  clips–many just seconds long–City of Nature presents what the artist refers to as a “video collage.” Scenes are further transformed by Ezawa’s hallmark style of assisted digital animation. This six-minute animated work draws from more than twenty popular films including Brokeback Mountain, Days of Heaven, Deliverance, Der Berg ruft!, Fitzcarraldo, Late Spring, Lord of the Flies, Moby Dick, Swept Away, and Twin Peaks.   In much the same way that Madison Square Park presents cultivated and aestheticized snippets of nature amidst the urban landscape of central Manhattan, City of Nature examines the ways in which popular culture presents “unnatural” visions of nature that embed themselves in our cultural memory more deeply than we may consciously know.

City of Nature will be screened daily from 11A.M. to 9P.M.


About the Artist

Kota Ezawa was born 1969 in Cologne, Germany and received his BFA from San Francisco Art Institute before completing his MFA at Stanford University. Ezawa re-presents iconic moments from the media, popular culture, and the history of photography in animated videos, slide projections, light-boxes, and prints. He meticulously recreates animated sequences using basic digital drawing and animation software. His source material has included the Zapruder 8mm film of the Kennedy assassination, the O.J. Simpson trial, and clips from the films  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?  and D.W. Griffith’s  The Birth of a Nation.

His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at museums and institutions throughout the country including Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; St. Louis Art Museum; Artpace, San Antonio, Texas; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; and Santa Monica Museum of Art, California, among others. His work has also been included in group exhibitions internationally throughout Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Slovak Republic, and the U.S. Prestigious showings include group exhibitions at Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; The  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Shanghai Art Museum, China; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., among others. His work has also been included in the Whitney Biennial (2006), the Shanghai Biennial (2004), and the 5th  International Media Art Biennial (2008) in Seoul, Korea.

His recent publications include  Odessa Staircase Redux, (ECU Press/JRP Ringier, 2010), and  The History of Photography Remix, (Nazraeli Press, 2006).

He received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 2003, a SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2006 and a Eureka Fellowship in 2010.

Ezawa lives and works in San Francisco and is currently represented by Murray Guy, New York.


Major Support for Mad. Sq. Art is provided by Liane Ginsburg, Agnes Gund, Jennifer and Matthew Harris, Toby Devan Lewis, and Anonymous. Substantial support is provided by, Ronald A. Pizzuti, The Rudin Family, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Henry Luce Foundation, Joseph S. and Diane H. Steinberg Charitable Trust, and Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This project is supported in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


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Further Information

Murray Guy

Haines Gallery

California College of the Arts