KEWENIG is pleased to present sculptures, painting and works on paper by Leiko Ikemura on the occasion of Gallery Weekend Berlin 2018. Since leaving Japan in 1972, Ikemura has lived in many European cities. In her substantial oeuvre, which she has developed since the 1980s as a sculptor, painter and illustrator, elements of European and Asian art are combined. Notably since the 1990s, Ikemura has developed a unique yet universal pictorial language with representations of cosmic landscapes and floating female figures, which finds recognition in the art scenes of the most diverse cultural circles. Her mysterious and mythical creatures, which exhibit human traits as well as animal characteristics, are home to both Far Eastern and Western culture. At the same time, the shadowy female with a slightly rumpled skirt is a recurrent motif in much of the artist's work.
In one of Ikemura's bronzes, this becomes a seemingly architectural base from which the faceless female figure rises with raised arms. In addition to partly coloured bronze, Ikemura mostly uses terracotta for her sculptures. Like her two-dimensional works, they are characterised by ambiguity, openness and timelessness: on the recumbent heads of peacefully sleeping trees grow; in mountain landscapes female faces appear. Open to the top, some of the sculptures reveal their interior - dark, deep and calm.
On paper and canvas, Ikemura creates atmospheric imagery with a playful, fleeting ductus in which she transcends the boundaries of the defined with omissions and fluid transitions. The silhouettes of often-transparent bodies and implied facial features merge ghostly with strongly coloured and abstracted landscapes that resemble spaces of memory and direct the beholder's gaze inwards.
Leiko Ikemura lives and works in Berlin. Her works have been shown worldwide in prestigious institutions such as the Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Mishima; The Nevada Musuem of Art, Reno; the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe and the Museum of Contemporary Art Basel. In 1999 she recorded the Japanese Pavillion at the Melbourne International Biennial. Most recently her works have been exhibited at the Ceramic Museum Hetjens, Düsseldorf (2017) and the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne (2015); 2011 at the Mie Prefectural Art Musuem, Tsu. Her works has been exhibited in numerous international museums such as the Center Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Art Museums of Basel, Bern and Zürich, as well as the National Museum of Modern Art and the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo. Ikemura was nominated for the Prix de Dessin 2018 of the Foundation Guerlain and previously received numerous prizes including the Cologne Fine Arts Prize (2014), the August Macke Prize (2009) and the German Critics Prize for Fine Arts (2001).