Shu Ikeda “Traces of Travel”

February 5 - March 6, 2022

Shu Ikeda
BerlinerDom, Berlin
photographic collage, mounted on acrylic
70 x150 cm

Maki Fine Arts is pleased to present Traces of Travel, a solo show by Shu Ikeda, starting Saturday, February 5, through Sunday, March 6, 2022. Ikeda has been producing works that traverse between painting and photography by creating unique shapes and voids out of photographs and using collage techniques. His subject matter has included landscapes depicting plants and water surfaces, scenes of Tokyo’s urban development before the Olympics, and still life detailing fruits and flowers.

In his sixth solo show with Maki Fine Arts, Ikeda will showcase new works using photographs the artist has taken during his travels to places like Berlin, Paris, Helsinki, and London. The works capture the moment his photographic travel records transform into a brand-new scene through his masterful cutting and collage-layering techniques. Looking at the crisp, highly-honed scenes displayed on the canvas, one may get a sense of how the artist approaches his works, perhaps in an attempt to reclaim the sensation of time that was lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

There’s often a gap between what you envisioned before your travels and what you actually experience and realize once at the destination. We travel to see and experience the unfamiliar. When we do, we often notice that the familiar suddenly feels novel, and what you thought would be straightforward was not so obvious after all. The appeal of travel–stepping away from your normal day-to-day life to discover something new and be amazed by or learn about cultural and ideological differences–has an addictive allure similar to how one can be drawn to art.

From 2020 through 2022, Covid-19 added numerous restrictions to our daily lives. Overseas travel, in particular, became difficult, making me painfully aware that we took for granted the ability to travel and the joy we experience capturing those memories using a camera. For this show, I used photographs taken during my travels as the base for my works. Those years seems like a lifetime ago, yet somehow it felt relevant to look back at my travel photos as part of my creative process during this challenging time.

In Traces of Travel, I use the photos as evidence of the trips and many of the works include traces that indicate the presence of something–such as light trails, brushstrokes, fragments, and voids.
Similar to how something lost makes you realize its essence or value, by cutting out photos and trimming off elements, I explore how it might be possible to find the answers to the questions ‘what is photography’ and ‘what is image.’ When one returns from travel or an art exhibition and can now look at their normal day-to-day life from a different angle, wouldn’t that mean they had a good experience?

Shu Ikeda

Shu Ikeda
Born 1979 in Hiroshima, Japan, Ikeda graduated with an art degree from Tokyo Zokei University in 2004. He currently lives and works in Tokyo. Using nature and urban landscapes as motifs, Ikeda has been producing works that traverse between painting and photography by creating unique shapes and voids out of photographs and using collage techniques. Major shows include Object and Image (solo, Maki Fine Arts, 2019), Sight (solo, Roppongi Hills A/D Gallery, 2018), and Why not live for Art? II – 9 collectors reveal their treasures (group, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, 2013).