Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

Leiko Ikemura: Transfiguration

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

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On the last day of our Tohoku trip, a slight change of plans lead me and Dawna back to Tokyo a day earlier than planned. So while Dawna headed back to the land of mikans, I loitered around in Tokyo. On a whim, I decided to take Dawna’s suggestion and go to an art museum in Tokyo (rather than another trip to the manga store Mandarake where I would inevitably spend more money and buy yet more doujinshi). Thus I found myself in the Tokyo National Museum of Modern Art where there was a special exhibit called “Transfiguration” on an award winning sculptor and painter  Leiko Ikemura.  I am not an art buff, and at best I mostly found Leiko’s artworks highly disturbing (like the hollow sculpture of the beheaded girl with a pigeon sitting on her neck).  So it was not surprising that as an  English Literature major I was immediately drawn to the poetry littering the walls of the exhibits instead. I believe Leiko herself wrote them in Japanese and was later translated into English (by herself or another I don’t know).  Here are some of the discombobulating verses I found.

Post research: Though she currently lives in Berlin, Leiko Ikemura hails from Mie Prefecture. That makes her poems, particularly the “Figure-scape” poem all the more chilling.  In response to the the triple disaster, she curated a exhibit in Berlin called, “Breaking News: Fukushima and the Consequences.”