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Building the World with a Pen


To really see a work by Japanese artist Ikeda Manabu, you better stand close. Accomplished with a pen and taking two years working for eight hours per day to complete, Manabu’s pieces are intricate, complex, surrealist structures, spanning countless contexts and storylines in one individual work. Whole cities built like asteroids float in space, cliffs made of buildings and waterfalls pour out of urban cracks. Fighter planes circle near temple buildings, each roof closing in on the one below it. A glacier made of industrial pipes and chimney stacks edges down a mountainside. The final image—organic and unique—is the result of the process the artist takes: he never knows what the piece is going to look like in the end; instead he builds day by day, usually in four-inch blocks, until the work reveals itself.

Talk about trusting the artistic process.

Catch Ikeda Manabu's work in 'The Garden of Unearthly Delights' group show at the Japan Society in NYC through January 11, 2015. Details here.