2023/Varying sizes/Resin, Wood (Cedar)

The idea for Physis came from the modes of storing human remains seen in various religions, such as Christian relics, or the ashes of the Buddha, in this case enclosing a cedar wood brought back from Okute Shinmei shrine in Okute-cho, in the city of Mizumani, Gifu. On July 11, 2020, the giant sacred tree, an ancient symbol of the village and worshiped for centuries by the locals, was toppled in a night of torrential rain.

Physis is a Greek word that translates as “nature” and was deemed the opposite to human endeavors such as logos (language, logic) and nomos (custom, law). Humanity’s move away from first-hand experience of the currents and transformations of the natural world, and toward a scientific stance of empirical explanation,became increasingly pronounced with the appearance in the 17th century of the word “physics,” derived from physis.

In between the way of seeing as an object of worship deeply rooted in local culture and as a substance through scientific gaze, the invisible such as people’s memories and customs flow into the object, forming a new relationship between us and the object.

Akarenga Terrace 1F Kita 2-jo Nishi 4-chome


Born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1985. Sato investigates the relationships between objects, images, and the indiscernible and inescapable things inherent in individuals and society, working across disciplines in photography, moving imagery, sculpture, and installation.

After developing practices in Tokyo and London, he is now based in Sapporo.Recent career highlights include the 23rd Japan Media Arts Festival (2020) where his work was a Jury Selection in the Art Division, Artists’ Fair Kyoto 2021, KyotoSteam2022 (Kyoto City Kyocera Museum of Art, Kyoto), and Grand prize for the 16th shiseido art egg award(2023/Shiseido Gallery).

Supported by: FY 2020 Project to Support Emerging Media Arts Creators

Cooperation: Shiseido Company, Limited, CG-Arts, Okute Community Centre

Grant: FY2022 Sapporo Cultural and Artistic Creative Activity Support Project (Sapporo Art Index)