“Rhythmic Stir” at Gallery UNO Projektraum

Chinatsu Ikeda (池田千夏) is a native of Osaka, Japan. She studied at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago where she earned both a BFA and MFA degrees. Ms. Ikeda’s work crisscrosses through drawing, painting, sculpture and installation. She often finds a sweet spot in the spaces between these disciplines by drawing with a scissor, laying down mosaic tiles in paint or allowing a drawn element to break out of the picture frame and swim onto the wall or floor. I often imagine her as the director of a sort of theater of the visual, translating aspects of her reality to one visual language to the next. Coxing the materials tenderly to speak the way that they do and shine in the ways each does best. Each material choice invigorating the real thing with new life. After drawing a hairbrush, cutting its shape from paper, painting its volumes, forming it from paper clay, articulating its trapped hairs in yarn… how does one ever look passively at a hairbrush again? The artist, the materials (paint, paper, pen, crayon...), the model (tooth, flower, oke, faucet) and memory collaborate to create the completed thing. The thing often depicting namable subjects that hold an otherworldly residue gained through its traveling from one realm to the next. I had the opportunity to talk with Chinatsu during her solo exhibition “Rhythmic Stir” at Gallery UNO Projektraum about her thoughts and recent artistic quests.

Amanda Joy Calobrisi:
We first met when you were a student at the school of the art institute in Chicago. Since then you have traveled around the world, New York, Nebraska, Italy.... You have recently moved from Osaka to Berlin, what prompted this change in residence?


Chinatsu Ikeda:
I had always had longings to go abroad for some reason. I feel uncomfortable when I find a sense of limitation physically and emotionally. To feel, to see, to hear in a foreign environment has given me a lot of good noise for my being. I’ve always wanted to break that in order to seek something new. The new is a change and a challenge as well. It often comes with risks and difficulties.



Peepin', 970cm x 1303cm, Oil on Canvas, 2017

Amanda Joy Calobrisi:
Your wanderlust has led you to participate in residencies in Europe and the United States. Did you get a lot out of these experiences? How did being an artist in residence impact your studio practice? 

あなたのもつ”wanderlust (放浪癖)”はアメリカやヨーロッパのアーティストインレジデンス参加に影響するわけですが、そこでどのような経験をしましたか?また、制作活動にどのようなインパクトを与えましたか?

Chinatsu Ikeda:
I have been to a few residencies, and each experience was definitely nurturing. The time I spent in each place was valuable and had its charm. When you are traveling, your spirit is free and it is easier to embrace differences and new influences. I enjoy that sensation and incorporate it into the artwork. When I was in Italy, the residency was in a totally rural area where there was only one supermarket and one restaurant in the village. Coming from a big city, to get in tune with their vibe was itself a time-trip. The residency building where I was living and working was a converted 13th century church.  There was a fresco on the wall, a rusted old bell, broken doors… these remnants from another time just left as they were. The local people lived with these frozen moments all around them. For them, it was totally ordinary. For me, it was extraordinary! It was an impact to see different ways of living on the side of the world.  Everything seemed to move at a much slower pace. I thought a lot about time, speed and place. I was in Rome as well, the past revealed itself in another way here. I saw many mosaics in Rome that greatly influenced me. This ancient city added another layer to the way I think of time. 



Horserider, 35cm x 25cm, watercolor on paper 2019

Amanda Joy Calobrisi:
What are some pros and cons of being in flux?


Chinatsu Ikeda:
It is good to be home cozy and safe, brick by brick like an ant with a crown. It is good to be outside experimental and wild like a rabbit on a skateboard. Pro and pro… I think you can get both somehow as well. It depends on one's priority and value. 

安全で居心地のいい 所で冠をつけた蟻がひとつひとつレンガを積み立てるもいい。スケートボードに乗った兎のように実験的でワイルドにいるのもいい。結局は、その人の優先順位や価値観でどちらでも良いと思っています。

Amanda Joy Calobrisi:
Your artist statement reads like a poem. It seems to advocate experience/doing/feeling as research for painting and discovery through observation/looking. I feel as if your statement is saying if one looks carefully it may be possible to uncover unknowns or discover worlds within worlds… what role does observation/looking/memory/dreams play in your work?


Chinatsu Ikeda:
To me, observation is feeling. Observation requires you to examine what you see with feels. For me, observation and feelings tend to come together. Shakespeare’s quote, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players...”, for me, the frame is like a stage, and an artist orchestrates her world within that frame, that is, to me painting.  At the same time, I see “the stage” as a kind of door. A door that invites and enters two worlds in, the worlds of the artist and the outside that leads to an audience. I still believe that painting is magical and physically experiential.


ADF-image4 _flowers

Flowers in Vase, 90cm x 60cm, paper, pencil, acrylic paints and markers, 2019

Amanda Joy Calobrisi:
I think a lot about the relationship between poetry and painting and I am a firm believer in Maria Lassnig’s adage “the pen is the sister of the brush”. Some of my favorite painters (and yours) left behind journals or books of poems along with their visual works (Egon Schiele, Edvard Munch, Paula Modersohn Becker, Maria Lassnig, Hannah Hoch). Does writing play a part in your artistic practice? Are there poets or writers that inspire your work? 

私は詩と絵の関係性についてよく考えます。私はマリア・ラスニックの”the pen is the sister of the brush (ペンは絵筆の姉妹)”という言葉を信じています。幾人か私達の共有する尊敬する画家たちは絵と共にジャーナル(日記の日誌を集めたような文書)ようなや詩集などを残しました。エゴン・シーレ、エドワード・ムンク、パウラ・モドソン・ベッカー、マリア・ラスニック、ハンナ・ヘッヒ。書物は制作するにあたってあなたの作品に、なんらかの役割をなしていますか? 誰か詩人や文学作家からの影響はありますか?

Chinatsu Ikeda:
Sometimes. I get inspired by Rilke and Manyoshu (Japanese waka). I also like Japanese Mythology. I find both very visual. I am reading a modern translation of Manyoshu little by little now. I’ve found an interesting waka about small nearby mountains having a love triangle.  They have feelings and they are depicted as spiritual being. To me, it has a narrative with an image. Paula Modersohn-Becker journals (also her paintings) taught me something ordinary is gold. The things you do in everyday life have meaning and should be visually celebrated. Her journals contained a fresh breath of her everyday experience.  I respect and admire her perspective. 


Amanda Joy Calobrisi:
Many of the subjects that you depict can be thought of as universal; flowers, groceries (Groceries Mechanics, Requiem for Chickens I have Eaten) or familiar toiletries (Toothbrush). While others become more otherworldly and dreamlike. (Encounter, Retreat). Even the handling from one type to the other changes drastically. How do you navigate between subjects? What dictates a change in medium? Or change in strategy? How much is surprise versus planned?

あなたの描く題材は万国共通と考えられるものがあります。例えば食料品(Groceries Mechanics, Requiem for Chickens I have Eaten)や身近な日用品(Toothbrush)などです。その一方で夢想的で空想的なテーマなもの(Encounter, Retreat)、その個々の作品の描き方までテーマによって変化してるように見えます。それはどのように扱われていますか?素材の何がその変化をもたらしますか?またそれは戦略的?計画 vs 偶然の比率は?


Groceries Mechanics, 140cm x 60cm, paper, weaving, colored pencils and markers, 2019

ADF-image7_RequiemforChickensIHaveEaten_ Installtion_2016

Requiem For Chickens I Have Eaten, Installation, paper on the wall at Institut fur alles mogliche Berlin, 2016


Toothbrush, 22cmx22cm, paper, pencil, acrylic paints and pipe cleaner, 2019

Chinatsu Ikeda:
It’s a good question. I also wonder myself why my works are the way they are. They seem to have different subjects, don’t they? I think I daydream in many subjects.  I am interested in something “near” you, and something sublime as a contrast in my work… but at the end of the day the elements of two things are the same.  My work is about “everything”. (haha) If I put that imaginary frame onto a scene, it becomes a picture. I think that the medium dictates what I make. I react purely to the material involved in the process. For colorful construction paper, I immediately feel like cutting it into a shape. I have a vague idea of what to cut at and it usually is the shape of something nearby. That’s why I was cutting a lot of veggies, toothbrushes or hairbrushes in my new cut-outs works. I like that chances that are created within the process of drawing out shape with scissors. I make bad shapes sometimes. But this bad shape often leads to a new way of making and results in a new good shape. By remaining open to chance I often see another potential outcome to the piece. I guess I treat my process as a door as well.  Since the cut-outs are so forgiving. I find it challenging to focus on my first vision on each piece and prefer to let it evolve naturally. Whereas with my drawings, the speed is much slower; I gaze at white paper wondering where to even start. Then, I start to see a kind of foggy image and I start drawing.  Five minutes later, I realize I made a mistake on watercolor paper. I go uh-oh at first and then I reconsider my first attempt in my head and keep working until another life appears in the drawing. I experience high and low, like a life experience, in my drawing process, and the image is constantly moving. But I make it work somehow! And in the end, I make the stuff that I make.


All images courtesy of the artist © Chinatsu Ikeda.

TitileRhythmic Stir
PeriodFriday April 26th (6pm-9pm), 27th (12pm-7pm) & 28th (12pm-7pm), 2019
PlaceGallery UNO-Projektraum Berlin
AddressWissmannstr. 12, 12049 Berlin, Germany
Contact/Kontakt0151 53246571