© Images Cheonho Ahn
2 SEPTEMBER – 18 NOVEMBER 2023
SOUL SCAPE SEOUL is the first solo exhibition by the Berlin-based artist Leiko Ikemura in South Korea, invited by KÖNIG SEOUL for this unique occasion. As with her poems, the sound play in the title is evocative of a multitude of ideas, embracing the idea of a landscape of our soul.
The show comprises paintings from the last decade until now, including a triptych, each of which are rendered on porous fibers such as nettle, jute, and paper. Additionally, SOUL SCAPE SEOUL features five sculptural works, ranging in medium from patinated bronze in HARE COLUMN II to works in cast glass. The more figurative nature of these objects is meant to align with the sprawling landscapes captured in the paintings, turning these complementary works into an immersive pictorial field.
The results on view in SOUL SCAPE SEOUL are the expression of many years of artistic research, such as Ikemura’s singular use of glass in several of the sculptures, which offer a subtle and beguiling tension between the transparency of the medium and its gravitational force. This tension echoes the more pervasive one that has defined Ikemura’s four decades of work, combining Japanese and European aesthetic traditions with a special eye to modes of representing and presenting the female body in both its singularity and universality. In Ikemura’s art, traditional diversities between East and West, painting and sculpture, abstraction and figuration, find a harmonious equilibrium within the purview of the imagination and its capacity for remaking the world as it is given to the artist.
Ikemura embodies the transcultural influences that coarse through SOUL SCAPE SEOUL and has done so long before specific attention was paid to practices that straddle cultures and spaces. The “soul scape” that appears in the exhibition’s title is the term the artist uses to describe the experience of her inner life as a landscape, and the delicate palette and organic materials contribute to their realization in artistic form in this show.
For her first show in Seoul, the collection of works on display is both representative of the decades of work for which the artist has been awarded and acknowledged and indicative of new directions for which a path has not yet been laid. Each place is a unique constellation of forces and tensions, and the inner life is where these elements find new expression and reflect what is otherwise hidden from view.