Ikeda Manabu

Ikeda Manabu (b. 1973) was born in Saga, Japan. He received both his BFA and MFA from Tokyo National University of the Arts. Since his graduation school thesis work, his primary medium has been pen and ink. Drawing with a fine pen nib, Ikeda weaves elements of civilization and nature into fantastic narratives, which emanate a sense of pure curiosity and abundant imagination. His drawings are so alarmingly dense that he can only manage to complete one fist-sized area per day. However, with indefatigable patience, entire scenes gradually pile up, akin to the steady, inexorable accumulation of diary entries. It is easy to be seduced into a lengthy exploration of the minute details of Ikeda’s drawings, however when one backs up to view the whole image, the accumulated details become not just a sprawling drawing in miniature, lacking a cohesive structure, but rather a masterfully created conglomerate of micro narratives merged as an expansive macro world. Ikeda Manabu has been building his career and reputation as an artist in Japan since his graduation from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2000, but he began to receive critical attention from American audiences following his participation in the exhibition Bye Bye Kitty!!! Between Heaven and Hell in Contemporary Japanese Art at the Japan Society in New York City in 2011. He recently completed a multi-year residency at the Chazen Museum of Art (2016) and had a major exhibition of his work tour to the Saga Prefecture Art Museum and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Kanazawa (2017). He currently lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.

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