Leiko Ikemura

Biography of Leiko Ikemura

The particularity of Leiko Ikemura's pictorial language lies in its gentle melding of Eastern and Western influences. Born and raised in Japan, yet spending the past 40 years living and working in Europe, Ikemura is an artist working between two distinct visual traditions and cultures. The free-flowing gestures and pared down forms of her paintings, drawings, and prints tends towards a simplification and abstraction. Shapes and contours dissolve in the soft colors employed by Ikemura, giving her figures a smudgy, fluffy, cotton ball-like feel.


This soft merging of figure and surrounding space, this overflowing and intermingling of interior and exterior, might be seen to allude to Eastern philosophical notions of oneness, of the individual becoming the universal, and of seeing one's life as part of a continuous whole. Fused with a deep understanding of Western contemporary art practices, Ikemura's works— with their swirling colors and misty landscapes—pulsate with energy, possessing an inner light that seems to emanate from the surface of her perfectly balanced works.


Born in 1951, Leiko Ikemura lives and works between Berlin and Cologne. She was a professor for painting at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, from 1991 through to 2015, and currently teaches at the Joshibi University of Art and Design, Kanagawa in Japan. Ikemura has exhibited widely both in Europe and Japan, including the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin, the Kunstverein Salzburg and the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota in Japan. Her work features in the collections of the Kunstmuseum Basel, the National Museum for Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris. 

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