Patricia Low Contemporary is pleased to present Kiss the Earth, a solo exhibition by Swiss-Japanese artist Leiko Ikemura. Ikemura first came to prominence as one of the Neue Wilde group in the 1980s; her intensely expressive approach to art-making flaunts not only the diasporic languages of painting itself, but its transformative potentials. Themes of hybridity, cross-culturalism, sexuality, and psychological flux run throughout her works, which, in Kiss the Earth, span painting and sculpture.
Making is at the very heart of Ikemura’s practice; she describes her work as neither abstraction nor figuration, but rather “artistic motifs” that are given agency through their process of becoming. Ikemura shifts between media with rarefied fluidity, treating both ceramic and painting as intensely physical and spontaneous conduits that communicate action or feeling more than image. Raw materiality and the sense of ‘unfinishedness’ convey a pure energy, creating instances of creative “transmission” that occur between the visual and the haptic, artist and viewer.
In Kiss the Earth, Ikemura’s canvases draw reference equally from European romanticism and traditional Japanese painting and calligraphy; exotic landscapes emerge from tempera-like washes, psychological expanses floating in impossible space, organically defined by areas of intensified hue and deliberated brushwork, details of figures and faces flirting in and out of focus. The accompanying sculptures in terracotta or bronze-cast populate the exhibition with fragmented figures, their morphed husks, earthy, malleable, and feminine, suggest fleeting moments of imagination and longing made concrete as timeless artefacts.
Leiko Ikemura’s work is featured in many prominent public collections globally, including: Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig (MUMOK), Vienna; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Bonner Kunstverein; Berlinische Galerie; Skulpturenpark Köln; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Modern Art Tokyo (MOMAT), Kunstmuseum Basel; Kunstmuseum Bern; Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein ; European Ceramic Work Centre, Netherlands; Kunstmuseum St.Gallen; National Museum of Art, Osaka; Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA), USA. Her recent solo museum exhibitions include: “Poetics of Form” Nevada Museum of Art, USA; “All About Girls and Tigers” Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne; “Last und Lust”, Neues Museum, Nuremberg; “PIOON” Vangi Sculpture Garden Museum, Shizuoka, Japan; “i-migration” Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe; “Korekara oder Die Heiterkeit des fragilen Seins” Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin & Museen Dahlem, Berlin; “Transfiguration” The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo & Mie Prefecturial Art Museum, Japan. Ikemura’s recent awards include: the Cologne Prize Art Award 2014; JaDe-Prize of the JaDe-Foundation 2013.