Kota Ezawa: City of Nature

Video stills courtesy of the artist

Kota Ezawa is a German-born, San Fransisco-based video artist and illustrator who creates simple, graphic illustrations over film footage to produce short, witty narrative videos. City of Nature, Ezawa’s original video commission for Mad. Sq. Art,  weaves together excerpts from  popular films, ranging from Fitzcarraldo to Twin Peaks in which nature  is the only character featured onscreen.   These short clips are edited together to form what the artist calls a “video collage” or seamless montage, before being translated through freehand, computer-assisted digital animation.   The resulting animated video stands as a visually striking and original work containing subtle, but deliberate echoes of iconic cultural moments embedded in our collective unconscious.   In much the same way that Madison Square Park presents a cultivated and aestheticized side of nature, wildlife and green space amidst the urban landscape of central Manhattan, City of Nature examines the ways in which popular culture presents aestheticized images of the natural work, “unnatural” visions of nature that embed themselves in our cultural memory and media landscape more deeply than we may consciously know.

Kota Ezawa has had numerous solo shows in museums across America, including  Medley, Wexner Center for the Arts, 2009; Lennon Sontag Beuys, St. Louis Art Museum, 2008, Artpace, San Antonio, 2006 and Matrix 154, Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, CT, 2005. Ezawa has been included in group exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art New York, Berkeley Art Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as the 5th  Seoul International Biennale of Media Art and the 2004 Shanghai Biennale. 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.   He is represented by the Haines Gallery, San Franciso and Murray Guy Gallery, New York.