Lewisham-based, Italian artist Thion shows his latest body of work, I-KU, at the Arthouse. I-KU brings together Thion's love of words and images by pairing paintings with Haiku poems of his own writing. Haiku, a twelve-hundred-year-old Japanese verse form, derives its evocative power both from its everyday subject matter and the absolute, startling economy of its language. Thion's verses are true to that spirit but his language is a little less restrained, more 'street smart', his subjects those of his particular biography.
The paintings are pure visual Haiku - employing the bold, pared-down language of pop art, Thion sets up a fascinating dialogue between image and word, a peculiar correspondence of changing perspectives in which each enriches the other. I-KU achieves the rare feat of expressing the universal, eternal through description of the fleeting and familiar ' in that most difficult of languages, simplicity.
An illustrated collection of all of Thion's Haiku poems will be published and Nick Ellis (clarinet) and Eliza Marshall (flute) will perform improvised music inspired by I-KU at the private view.
Thion's artistic practice, initially shaped primarily by pop art concerns, such as popular culture, the mass media and graffiti-related signs and symbols, has developed beyond these narrow confines and now embraces a wider spectrum of influences, often going beyond the artistic realm. Drawing on his extensive knowledge of and skill in traditional image-making techniques but employing them in an absolutely contemporary context, his work makes the ordinary extraordinary, elevating everyday experience to magical, mystical status.