DAISUKE ICHIBA Solo Exhibit
Artist Talk/ October 13,2012/ 3pm/ The Forum Fully Booked, Fort Bonifacio, Hi- Street
Exhibit Opening Reception follows after at PABLO Fort
At the age of 4-5, he made little comic books held together with staples. Then, during primary
school, he drew parodies of popular comics, depicting his weaker classmates humiliated and
mistreated. Passed around the class, the comics earned him respect and attention, which he
kept seeking by forming a funk band in high school, giving up on drawing. More than the
music itself, he admits, he enjoyed being on stage and performing in front of an audience.
As the other band members' schedule made it impossible to rehearse together, they
inevitably split up and Ichiba starts looking for an activity that requires no one's intervention
but his own.
So he goes back to drawing manga for practical, rather than aesthetic, reasons. This is one of
the many ways for him to let out an arcane part of himself that he strives to express by any
means: a mix of personal obsessions and views on society, lucid reflections and
distractions. Women almost always play the leading part, a fixation linked to Ichiba's loss of
his mother at the age of 8.
Influenced by George Akiyama and DADAISM, Ichiba's style blends Indian ink, collage, finespun
volutes and furious brushing in willfully abstruse stories. From the world-ruling mutant
frog to the one-armed girl singing for the pleasure of demons who squash the dead in hell's
Pond of Blood, Ichiba's world sprawls in more than 20 graphic novels and art books (the
borderline between the two is often pretty thin) where a very peculiar sense of humor
emerges out of striking images of madness, pain and sex.
The reader is horsed around from nightmarish scenes to absurd dialogues, and when the
story doesn't end in a rather clichéd seppuku (which Ichiba completely assumes), when a
page depicting the end of times isn't all smeared up in lazy brushes of ink, books end in a
disarmingly obscure fashion discouraging any attempt of analysis and literal interpretations.
The story obeys a graphic logic as much as a narrative logic.
"The organic motives and patterns of characters [kanji] I draw may render my works
disturbing but usually they just start off as lines drawn without much afterthought in empty
spaces of a page, like writing exercises, and then they turn into motives without me noticing.
However dispensable those may be,
sometimes I feel they play a very important part in the story. I tend to be extremely attracted
to what's useless or incomprehensible".
Mizue Ezumi, the only recurring character in Ichiba's works, first appeared in 1997. He sees
her as his alter ego, his mother, his daughter. A patch on her left eye hides a repugnant
deformity symbolizing mankind's inevitably tainted heart.
"It's like crap, whether we like it or not there's something rotten inside us. In this world
beautiful landscapes coexist with scenes of awful violence. Of course those are sick and evil,
but that doesn't mean we must separate them from the rest and not show them. Whenever I
tend to come close to Beauty I'm overcome by an irresistible urge to bring in the page
grotesque elements and meaningless things to restore balance. I strive to draw with a right
balance between dispassion and subjectivity, but when one looks at the finished work it
seems people notice the grotesque facet above all and lose sight of my original intention."
(Aurélien Estager) Text © 2007
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