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b. 1965, Japan

Yoko Ikeda Biography

Photographing mundane details of her surroundings—including building facades, staircases, floorboards, and trees—Japanese photographer Yoko Ikeda scrutinises her subjects and creates unexpected compositions to elevate poetic moments in overlooked corners.

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Ikeda builds her compositions in layers, utilising careful framing and stark variations in focus to confuse the boundary between subject and background. In Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture (2011), for example, a sharply defined garden sprawl is visible through a blurry cut-out of a cartoon figure's head, the distance between the two subjects all but disappearing. Similarly, in Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture (2015), indiscernible forms obscure the pebble area behind them.

The careful study of details and textures of various surfaces is paramount in Ikeda's practice, as seen in the chromogenic print Salem, MA, USA (2013), which features the rough, gnarled bark of a tree trunk next to the flatness of a matte painted wall. Strategically composed sections of saturated colour are also crucial to her photographs, as seen in Kahoku Town, Yamagata Prefecture (2008), in which pairs of candy-pink slippers are lined up conspicuously on dull grey wooden floorboards, or in Misato Town, Kumamoto Prefecture (2011), in which a bed of bright pink petals smothers dense undergrowth and only the smallest patches of dark green foliage are visible through the cloud of colour. Similarly, Tervuren, Belgium (2013) depicts a corner where a blood-red wall meets a white ceiling.

More than just a way to document, record, or explain the physical world, photography, for Ikeda—as she writes on IBASHO's website—is also a tool to create something entirely new. For the artist, 'Photography is a form of experimentation to create a new world through the lens while consciously working with the ambiguity of visual sensation, as well as colours, composition, and fluctuations of perspective.'

Yoko Ikeda was born in Kanazawa City in central Japan and received her formal education from the research department of Tokyo College of Photography. Notable solo shows include semiconscious note, Gallery Mestalla, Tokyo (2011); fine line between, Nikon Salon, Tokyo (2011); about blanc, Konica Minolta Plaza, Tokyo (2011); Sensation, Gallery Mestalla, Tokyo (2015); Monkey Puzzle, IBASHO, Antwerp (2016); and Crystalline, gallery ART UNLIMITED, Tokyo (2018).

Select group exhibitions include Present Tense, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle (2010); The Photo Review/Best of Show, Gallery 1401, the University of the Arts, Philadelphia (2012); Reflection, Place M & M2 Gallery, Tokyo (2013); Night & Day, gallery ART UNLIMITED, Tokyo (2013); Secret Garden, gallery ART UNLIMITED, Tokyo (2015); No Art, No Life, gallery ART UNLIMITED, Tokyo (2015); and Regards de femmes, Maison Folie, Mons (2015). In 2013 she was awarded the Philadelphia Museum of Art Purchase Award and, in 2016, the Higashikawa New Photographer Award. She currently lives and works in Tokyo.

Ocula | 2019

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