Symphonia – Damascus Steel by Kosuke Kato

2023 10/5 (thu) - 10/21 (sat)

11am – 6pm, closed Sun/Mon,
final day closes at 4pm

Artist Present:
October 5th (Thu) – 7th (Sat)



Kato represents the next generation of Japanese metal artists who are pushing the boundaries of their materials to brave new heights, embracing the storied traditions of metal within Japanese history while striving for vistas never visited before within their respective materials. From samurai swords to armour, from tea ceremony ware to ceremonial vessels, metal has long been engrained in the national consciousness of the Japanese, yet the material of Damascus has no true roots in this island nation’s history. However, Kato wields this material with a minimal, ethereal elegance, transforming the austere metal into a compelling medium for abstraction within contemporary art. In Kato’s metal facades are the seven seas of serenity, an eternal loop that plays on and on, with rippling, supple silhouettes that seemingly defy gravity and accentuate the raw beauty of Damascus itself.

Damascus steel is a grey metal alloy decorated with speckled, silvery patterns that resemble the flow of water and are almost calligraphic in aesthetic, and Kato’s creative process is a highly intricate process akin to the forging of samurai swords. Taking 7 different sheets of iron ore and nickel, the artist piles them together and heats the materials into a single unit at a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius. Once this temperature is reached, the process of hammering the metal, folding, then cutting the metal in two continues repeatedly, while throwing sand in to create and solidify a base billet. After compressing the billet, a pattern is embedded within the metal, and then polished out to achieve a metallic sheen. An acidic liquid is then applied to the surface, and the multi-layered Damascus motifs begin to rise from within the metal and appear on Kato’s facades. Lastly, the treated metal is hammer-raised into Kato’s distinctive silhouettes that deceptively make his metal look as if they are made from fabric, as if they are gently blowing in the wind like flags on a pole.

His first exhibition at Kanata since 2019, Symphonia will feature a multitude of new works in Kato’s signature Crescendo, Aria, Cadenza and Legato series, and will be unquestionably his most ambitious exhibition yet. Inspired by leading Kanata artists such as Sueharu Fukami and Satoru Ozaki, Kato may very well be the most exciting young artist to achieve prominence in the medium of metal in quite some time, with his riveting works selling out at art fairs the world over, and we hope you will be able to enjoy the beauty of Kato’s Symphonia, as his quartet in Damascus play their elegant melodies on the stage that is Kanata.


Wahei Aoyama, Founder

A Lighthouse called Kanata



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