With her sculptures, paintings, and works on paper, Japanese-Swiss artist Leiko Ikemura creates worlds of her own. The presentation of her bronze and ceramic sculptures is atmospheric, and much like a theater setting. Her figures gather in front of Ikemura’s ethereal landscapes which, in their utmost simplicity, stand in the tradition of Far Eastern landscape art. The dark blue walls of the Kabinett enhance a dream-like, mystical ambience for these creatures who often derive from Japanese mythology. The works are always presented in a state of becoming, the transition between human, animal and nature barely tangible. Working predominately with terra cotta, the creative process and the traces of the artist’s hand remain visible, giving their surfaces a sense of movement that is reinforced by shimmering glazes.
Leiko Ikemura (born 1951 in Tsu Mie, Japan) was associated with the Neue Wilde movement in the early 1980s. She is celebrated in her homeland as an artist who fully adopted European art but kept her feet still rooted in Japan. The girlish figures she began painting in the 1990s were unmoored from reality, chimerical creatures in a cosmic landscape. Ikemura has been honored with two major retrospective exhibitions at The National Art Center in Tokyo, as well as at the Kunstmuseum Basel this year. Ikemura was professor from 1990–2015 at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, where she still lives and works today.