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b. 1966, Jersey

Ryoji Ikeda Biography

One of Japan's leading visual artists and composers, Ryoji Ikeda is celebrated for his immersive audiovisual installations and performances that use projections to visualise the translation of data into sound and vice versa. Ikeda's works frequently materialise as audiovisual installations or performances where visitors are invited to step inside and play among shadows and pulsating patterns, losing themselves in the hypnotic environments.

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Ikeda's introduction to contemporary art and sonic media began in the early 1990s, when he worked as an audiovisual producer at Spiral Gallery in Tokyo. In 1993, he became a member of the production team for Kyoto-based artist collective Dumb Type, where he focused on working with sound. Between 1996 and 2002, Ikeda released four records with the experimental label Touch—+/- (1996), 0ºC (1998), Matrix (2000) and op. (2002)—in which he challenges the threshold of the perception of noise through layering glitch, minimal, ambient and string sounds.

Ikeda's early works hint at the artist's ongoing fascination with the relationship between music and mathematics, particularly binary numbers and data. In 2005, through the German avantgarde label Raster-Noton, Ikeda released Dataplex, an album of 20 minimalist, electronica recordings. Encompassing intermittent buzzes, high-pitched beeps, pulsing noises and instrumental sounds, the album culminated by the end of the record as an immersive soundscape.

For his 2008 Test Pattern work, the artist designed a system that converts data (including that from text, sounds, photos or movies) into flickering black-and-white barcode patterns that are then projected onto a screen and synchronised to music. Supercodex (2013) operates on a similar system, for which Ikeda incorporated quantum calculations to translate audio information into video projections. At its first iteration in Tokyo in 2013, the screen was divided into two vertical sections, over which pulsated DNA-like helixes, pixelated patterns, striated lines and descending clouds. Similarly, commissioned by the Park Avenue Armory, New York, in 2011, Ikeda created an immersive audiovisual installation titled the transfinite. The work consisted of a darkened room lit by images projected onto an enormous wall and floor. On one side of the room, projections featured horizontal monochrome lines and bands that constantly flickered and alternated in tandem with the soundtrack. On the other side of the installation, the metadata of the installation—such as the programming behind the binary codes for video projections—were presented as numbers and diagrams projected on the wall and the floor.

In addition to installations, Ikeda also works in two dimensions with a focus on materialising the imperceptible. In 'Time and Space', an ongoing series since 2010, Ikeda utilises filmstrips as a medium to represent time. 4'33" (2014), for instance, is an artwork comprised of 16mm magnetic film strips used for movie soundtracks, and pays tribute to John Cage's work by the same name. Another series titled 'Systematics' (2012–ongoing) archives the evolution of the various applications of data by encasing piano rolls for player pianos (Systematics [nº4] [2012]) or punched cards for vintage computers (Systematics [nº1–7] [2014]) in acrylic panels. Presented as lightboxes, these artworks highlight attempts to communicate information through data that operates unseen.

Ikeda's interest in mathematics and atomic science has also led him to interdisciplinary collaborations. 'V≠L' (2008–ongoing)—a series of multimedia works that explore the mathematical concept of 'axiom of constructability'—is a result of the artist's discussions with Harvard number theorist Benedict Gross. In 2014 Ikeda was awarded the artist-in-residency programme at CERN, Geneva, where he worked with a scientist to study particle physics. The residency inspired the work supersymmetry (2014), which consists of wall projections featuring computerised data used in particle physics and a floor installation of a video of particles sweeping across the screen.

Since 2000, Ikeda has been collaborating with German musician Carsten Nicolai through the artist collective cyclo., founded on their shared interests in the visualisation of sound. In 2013 cyclo. staged a live performance for Soundings: A Contemporary Score—the first major exhibition of sound art to be organised at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Ikeda's work has also been exhibited internationally, notably at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2018); Taipei Fine Arts Museum (2018); Almine Rech Gallery, Paris and London (2017); ACC ACT Centre, Gwangju (2015); Dojima River Forum, Osaka (2015); Salon 94, New York City (2014); Times Square, New York City (2014); and Singapore Art Museum (2011). The artist lives and works in Paris and Kyoto.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018

Exhibition view: Observations, West Bund x Centre Pompidou, Shanghai (8 November 2019–30 May 2020). Courtesy West Bund x Centre Pompidou.

Ryoji Ikeda Featured Artworks

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systematics [nº2-2] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedasystematics [nº2-2], 2012Punched card for vintage computers, acrylic panels, LEDs, stainless steel, aluminium
11.5 x 22 x 1.6 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
test pattern [film 14] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedatest pattern [film 14], 2014Framed Super 16mm film (green), binary pattern
92.5 x 4.4 x 2.7 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
the irrational (√2) [nº2-b] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedathe irrational (√2) [nº2-b], 2017Pigment print on paper, aluminium support
100 x 100 x 10 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
the irrational (√2) [nº2-a] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedathe irrational (√2) [nº2-a], 2017Pigment print on paper, aluminium support
100 x 100 x 10 cm
Almine Rech Enquire about this work
test pattern [film 23] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedatest pattern [film 23], 2019Framed Super 16mm film (clear), binary pattern
92.5 x 4.4 x 2.7 cm
Taro Nasu Enquire about this work
systematics [n˚4-2] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedasystematics [n˚4-2], 2012Piano roll for player piano, acrylic panels, LEDs, stainless steel, aluminium
33 x 33 x 1.6 cm
Taro Nasu Enquire about this work
systematics [n˚6-20] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedasystematics [n˚6-20], 201216mm microfilm jacket, acrylic panels, LEDs, stainless steel
13.7 x 18 x 1.6 cm
Taro Nasu Enquire about this work
systematics [n˚3-2] by Ryoji Ikeda contemporary artwork
Ryoji Ikedasystematics [n˚3-2], 2012Computer aperture card (punched card with microfilm) for vintage computers, acrylic
11.5 x 22 x 1.6 cm
Taro Nasu Enquire about this work

Ryoji Ikeda Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Observations at Centre Pompidou x West Bund Shanghai, Shanghai
Open Now
8 November 2019–30 August 2020 Group Exhibition Observations Centre Pompidou x West Bund ShanghaiShanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Ryoji Ikeda, Solo Exhibition at Taro Nasu, Tokyo
Closed
26 October–22 November 2019 Ryoji Ikeda Solo Exhibition Taro NasuTokyo
Contemporary art exhibition, Ryoji Ikeda, π, e, ø at Almine Rech, Paris
Closed
29 November–21 December 2017 Ryoji Ikeda π, e, ø Almine RechParis

Ryoji Ikeda Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai
Taro Nasu contemporary art gallery in Tokyo, Japan Taro Nasu Tokyo

Ryoji Ikeda In Ocula Magazine

58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times Ocula Report 58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times By Mohammad Salemy, Venice

The 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...

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Ocula Report: Art Stage Jakarta 2016 Ocula Report Ocula Report: Art Stage Jakarta 2016 By Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva, Jakarta

For its first edition, which ran from 5th to 7th August 2016, Art Stage Jakarta bustled with exuberant visitors, and the overall atmosphere was one of heightened excitement and activity.  Works shown throughout the fair   represented a wide consideration of contemporary and modern art. There were representations...

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The Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum Ocula Report The Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum By Sam Gaskin, Shanghai

Having been largely left to the weeds for the past five years, the former Shanghai World Expo 2010 site is finally being redeveloped. In the forest of scaffolding and cranes, one of the first finished projects is the China Minsheng Banking Corporation’s second art museum, the Shanghai 21 st Century Minsheng Art Museum. The M21, as...

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Ryoji Ikeda In Related Press

From Monumental to Microscopic, These Works Changed the History of Art in Japan Related Press From Monumental to Microscopic, These Works Changed the History of Art in Japan 13 March 2019, Frieze

Curated by Mika Yoshitake, Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s forms a corollary to her 2012 Blum & Poe exhibition Requiem for the Sun: The Art of Mono-ha, which presented a much-needed introduction to a group of postwar Japanese artists whose works have now been aligned with more recognizable Western European movements such as...

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Japanese Art, on Its Own Terms Related Press Japanese Art, on Its Own Terms 30 October 2017, The New York Times

METZ, France — French and Japanese flags flap in tandem at the Pompidou Center here, hailing the fall program at this sister venue of the Paris museum of contemporary art. Its exhibitions include one about Japanese architecture from 1945 to the present day, and the recently opened Japanorama, a survey of Japan's contemporary art since 1970...

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Math and Music: Ryoji Ikeda performs test pattern live in London Related Press Math and Music: Ryoji Ikeda performs test pattern live in London 12 October 2017, ArtAsiaPacific

Old Selfridges Hotel, located directly above the famous central London department store, has all the trappings of a classic techno venue. Entering the cavernous industrial space along with hundreds of other spectators, and finding a spot among its concrete pillars from which to watch Ryoji Ikeda perform Test Pattern, had the air of arriving to...

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