Interview and selected readings
Excerpt from the interview with Manabu Ikeda on February 17, 2014, conducted, translated and excerpted by Laura J. Mueller. Full interview texts are available in the exhibition catalogue.
Laura J. Mueller (LJM): Where have you in the past, and where do you currently, look for inspiration for your art?
Manabu Ikeda (MI): My inspiration has not changed over time in that I create my art based on daily experience and memory. Recently, I have been preoccupied with calamity like earthquakes and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
LJM: What has been the effect of traditional Japanese art techniques and imagery on your own art?
MI: Since I was young I have been surrounded by the anime and manga culture, and these creative expressions became a part of me. Many aspects of these artistic forms have influenced scenes in my work. In particular, the figures in my work appear to move as though they are advancing frame by frame, and also my depiction of comical and humorous situations comes from the anime and manga influence.
My work entitled Foretoken is often compared to Hokusai’s The Great Wave off Kanagawa, commonly known as The Great Wave. However, I didn’t start with this image in mind at all. Originally I created a work of only three panels, but it felt too constricted when I completed it. So, I added a blank panel to the left of the composition and I then realized the work was reminiscent of Hokusai’s design. I really liked Hokusai’s design, and found it interesting that it ended up compositionally right-to-left, opposite to that of Hokusai’s image.
LJM: What do you think are the most dominant themes or subjects in your artwork?
MI: The conflict and coexistence between man and nature.
LJM: What kind of relationship do you have with your art? Do you see yourself represented in your art as a type of self-portrait?
MI: I feel as if my work is my inner voice. It acts as a filter for expressing my happy and sad memories, anger, anxiety, hope and inner emotions. I have placed myself often in past paintings, including events that occurred while working on a particular composition like my grandmother’s funeral, my own wedding, and my child’s birth. The reason you often see figures skiing or rock climbing is my desire to try them out myself and have fun in my paintings. In a way you can say my paintings are like a diary recording my private, daily life.
Chōzetsu Gikou Museum. Tokyo: BT Books, 2013.
Ikeda, Asato. “Ikeda Manabu, the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and Disaster/Nuclear Art in Japan.” japanfocus.org (May 16, 2014)
Ikeda, Manabu. IKEDA Manabu 1. Tokyo: Hatori Shoten, 2010
Jones, Tracy. “Exclusive Interview with Ikeda Manabu.” Hifructose.com (May 2,2014)
Onley, Yukiko. “The fascinating world of artist Manabu Ikeda.” Vancouverobserver.com (May 16, 2014)
Laurence, Robin. “Neil Wedman and Manabu Ikeda ruminate on the curious, the mysterious, and sometimes the disastrous.” Straight.com (May 16, 2014)
Worland, Gayle. “Line by line, a masterwork takes shape.” Madison.com (June 2, 2014)