“Leiko Ikemura. Before Thunder, After Dark” curated by Frank Boehm
BUILDING presents Before Thunder, After Dark, the first solo exhibition by Japanese – Swiss artist Leiko Ikemura to be held in Italy, curated by Frank Boehm. On view from September 4th to December 23rd, 2021, the project is a broad overview of the work of Ikemura and gathers a selection of 50 artworks realized between the 1980s until today. The exhibition, which unfolds through the gallery’s four floors, presents a number of highly significant historical pieces to the public for the very first time, along with more recent works specifically created for BUILDING. Among these, a glass sculpture that was produced in collaboration with some of Venice’s oldest, most important glassworks.
Leiko Ikemura’s oeuvre is characterized by a complex, haunting visual language. In her works, initially mostly figurative and, in recent years, increasingly abstract, she focuses on humanity and its position in the universe. Female figures, a recurring motif in her work, are mostly portrayed free of any spatial context, set in semi-abstract landscapes that are more emotional than physical in nature. They are the protagonists of timeless images that focus on the contemporary visual perception of the human figure, expressing a personal representation of existential states. Viewing them is an intimate experience that conveys a longing for wholeness.
Ikemura’s expressive universe ranges from drawing to watercolor, painting to photography. She creates sculptures primarily in terracotta, ceramics and bronze, and more recently also in glass. The individual pieces are highly autonomous, and even the small formats exert a strong presence. In the various areas of BUILDING the works are installed in thematic groups that trace the development of the artist’s visual vocabulary, starting with a group of large-format charcoal drawings of the 1980s, shown here for the first time, through the delicate and nuanced shades characterizing the works from the 1990s, to the intense, bright colors of the most recent canvases.