Leiko Ikemura: Usagi in Wonderland18 July -12 December 2021
Tickets: £8 or FREE for Members and UEA/NUA Student Members* (plus £1.50 booking fee for non-members)
50% off for under 18's, full-time students & Art Fund Members
Tickets must be pre-booked online before arrival with a specific time slot
Japanese-Swiss artist, Leiko Ikemura, presents her first UK exhibition. Usagi in Wonderland showcases a retrospective collection of 50 works spanning three decades of Ikemura’s career, from early paintings, drawings and sculptures through to her most recent never-seen-before cast glass figures (2020).
The exhibition explores the theme of nature and the connectivity of all forms of life, whether that be humans, animals, plants or minerals. There is both fragility and innocence in Ikemura’s empathetic portrayal of global issues, such as climate and evolutionary change. Her art appeals to our imagination with its childlike purity.
Another key theme of the exhibition is ‘Girls’, with ceramic and bronze figures featured alongside enigmatic paintings and drawings from the 1990s. On canvas, her spirit-like figures swoop and dive. Ikemura’s girls are non-specific, ageless, hybrid human-animals: sensitive and innocent.
Usagi, meaning ‘rabbit’ in Japanese, is a recurrent mystical motif in Ikemura’s work, representing rebirth, fertility and renewal. Her bronze sculpture, Usagi Kannon (Rabbit Bodhisattva of Mercy), will stand in the Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park from 20 November 2021, providing a place of refuge to visitors wishing to shelter beneath its generous skirt.
Image Credit: Trees out of Head, Leiko Ikemura, 2015/20 © Leiko Ikemura and VG Bild-Kunst 2021
Quote from Leiko Ikemura.
The exhibition has been developed in collaboration with the Sainsbury Institute to coincide with the Japan-UK Season of Culture.
Supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Henry Moore Foundation, Japan-UK Season of Culture, Toshiba International Foundation, Ikemura Foundation and the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.
**The Sainsbury Centre is accessible to disabled visitors including those with limited mobility and those accompanying them, with the exception of the Mezzanine Gallery where this exhibition is displayed. The Sainsbury Centre is a Grade II* Listed building. Due to Fire Safety regulations, we regret we are unable to allow visitors access to the Mezzanine Gallery who are unable to independently navigate the steep spiral staircase in the event of an evacuation. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
“My message is a visual and sensual one, so the viewer could feel it’s very open to interpretation… The exhibition is not just about the works but making space so people can breathe and be with art”
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