In my visit to the studio, Kato explained the labor-intensive, somewhat mysterious process, which has come to capure the imagination of generatios of craftsmen creating weapons of the highest quality, that are flexible and at hard at the same time. Invented in India in ancient time, created of wootz, a type of steel whcih became popular in the 3th century, it was practiced in the Near East where it was traditionally utilized to create swords adorned with patterns reminiscent of Damascus textiles. To create the material, he is folding and melting together a variety of alloys, particulary steel and iron in charcoal under reduced oxygen, allowing the metal to absorb carbon. This process can take up to thirty days, and when it is ready, the metal is bended to the desidred form, Kato deeps the object in bath of chemical liquids, which allows the special pattern to enhance. I have found Kato's commitment to the method impressive. He reresents the new Japanese artists devoting their lives to one craft and landing it to making contemporary art.
All images from Kato's first and second solo exhibitions, courtesy Yufuku Gallery.