Japanese artist Leiko Ikemura has been awarded this year’s Cologne Fine Art prize, the fair announced on Wednesday. The €10,000 prize is awarded annually by Koelnmesse and the German art dealers association, Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien und Kunsthändler (BVDG).
Previous recipients of the Cologne Fine Art Prize include seminal figures of German contemporary art such as Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, and Günther Uecker.
Born in Japan, Ikemura moved to Europe as a student. After spending time in Spain and Switzerland, she eventually settled in Germany in 1985 where she continues to live and work, dividing her time between Cologne and Berlin. In 1991, she was appointed professor of painting at the Berlin University of the Arts.
Over the last 30 years, Ikemura has created an substantial body of work, which crosses the disciplines of painting, sculpture, and works on paper. Painting came first. Her early canvasses from the 1980s deal with the themes of dreams, struggle and conflict. In 1987 she began experimenting with sculpture. And in the early 1990s abstract interpretations of the female form emerged as the primary theme within her work.
Visitors to this year’s Cologne Fine Art fair (November 19–23) will be able to view a special solo exhibition dedicated to Ikemura’s sculptures and drawings.
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