Artwork of the month March

Leiko Ikemura, Untitled, 1996

Leiko Ikemura

* 1951 in Tsu/Mie, Japan

Untitled, 1996

Watercolour on handmade paper

52.7 x 42 cm


Leiko Ikemura's untitled watercolour shows a reduced, evolving form, resemblant of a face betraying hints of an expression. The work fits into a series of eleven watercolours from 1996. In gentle, diaphanous layers, Ikemura applies the colours to the hand-made paper to create the otherworldly being-like form. What associations does this soft pastel-coloured, flat suggestion of a face arouse in our imaginations? Does it call to mind the primal image of a familiar/distant (female) form, a dreamlike figure or perhaps an innately human quality? Is this the representation of a visual expression of childlike playfulness or archaic wisdom? Like translucent colours bleeding into each other—an inherent feature of watercolour painting—the semantic expression of the image would also seem to be constantly changing. The sense of something foreshadowed, if not defined—captured in an open space—allows the viewer to experience the processual nature of painting and pursue his or her own thought associations.

Ikemura's work spans the classical visual media painting, sculpture and graphic arts. The application of colour, surface structure, feel and form are key traits that join together in the artist's oeuvre. In her visual idiom, Leiko Ikemura speaks, among other things, of the cosmological existence of anthropoid figures and beasts, of the genesis of life and habitats, of relationship and loss and, connected with this, of growing uncertainty: "Painting monochromes and a figure would be too unsubtle for me. That's why there is always this landscape aspect [...]. I wanted this dimension of space, something indefinable and also something cosmological. That's our time, after all. We are one step away from leaving the planet. It's a strange feeling that, on the one hand, people are so tied down to the Earth and need to be earthed in order to survive, while on the other they are losing touch with the Earth. This situation makes us feel very insecure."

Denise Rigaud

<b>Leiko Ikemura, Untitled, 1996</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.