Ikeda’s first major solo touring museum retrospective exhibition The Pen - Condensed Universe - opened in January this year. Its first venue was the Saga Prefectural Art Museum in Ikeda’s own home prefecture of Saga, where the exhibition was seen by over 95,000 people, breaking the museum’s visitor numbers record. It has just completed its second touring location at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa, and so far it has fascinated a wide number of people with a selection of approximately 120 works, ranging from pieces created in Ikeda’s school days to his current practice.
Taking place seven years on from his 2010 solo exhibition Focus at Mizuma Art Gallery, this exhibition will center upon the Tokyo premiere of Ikeda’s newest work Rebirth. At three metres tall and four metres wide, Ikeda’s largest ever work to date, Rebirth took two years to conceive and three years and three months to execute, and was entirely created during a residency Ikeda undertook in Madison, Wisconsin, U. S. A.
Looking at the work in its entirety, at its centre stands a massive tree with a profusion flowers in full bloom, which bears an overwhelming sense of presence. However, focusing on individual parts of the work we gradually become aware of a great variety of different landscapes and stories unfolding within it.
Part of the impetus for creating this work originated in the Great East Japan Earthquake disaster, and Rebirth throughout uses free and light imaginative and expressive capabilities to depict in juxtaposition the continuously recurring existence of disaster throughout the world, and the relationship between disasters and humanity. For Ikeda, who was living and working abroad at the time of the earthquake disaster, the encounters with new landscapes and peoples in different countries has breathed new life into his work.
Confronted with a large disaster, humanity cannot help but feel a sense of powerlessness, and yet perhaps precisely because the idea of continuing to live on, without losing hope, is so sincerely expressed within Ikeda’s work, this gives its power to move the hearts of viewers. You are invited to take this chance to enjoy viewing the completed Rebirth, a masterpiece by Ikeda Manabu.
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