April 1996 / Washington Square Park, New York, U.S.A. / 15mx15m / Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, The Artist

It was held at Washington Square Park in New York on April first 1996. It was the first IKIRO performance held outside Japan. IKIRO man started writing IKIRO one year before the performance. He simply needed a lot of IKIRO papers for the installation he planned in the park. During the preparation he realized writing IKIRO everyday was as important a routine as the performance itself. It was a special feeling he had never experienced before. He thought this long-term expression could be a life project. The performance in the park lasted for 4 hours. He asked friends to distribute the concept sheets of the performance. Since then he has been writing IKIRO as an art project. Writing IKIRO with IKIRO papers became his own performance style.


IKIRO Adventure

IKIRO in Tibet

November 1997 / At Mt. Kailash, Tibet / Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, The Artist

When IKIRO man traveled in Takuramacan desert in1996 he met a backpacker who went to Mt. Kailash. The backpacker said, “Going there is very difficult because of the high altitude and bad road condition, sometimes people die on the way there. It is not a matter of you choosing Mt. Kailash, because Mt. Kailash chooses you.” Next year IKIRO man visited Mt. Kailash to write “IKIRO” in front of the holy mountain. He started from Lhasa on a bicycle and also hitchhiked to get to Mt. Kailash. It was a really tough trip but on the way to there he learned a lot of things. Since then he has been combining travel and IKIRO performance as an art project.


Roots of Creation

IKIRO in Africa

June - September 1998 / Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana, Mali / Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, The Artist

IKIRO man went to some countries in Africa to think about the roots of creation. At that time he was more interested in cultural anthropology than contemporary art. He visited many tribes who are based on primitive living. Their simple way of living inspired IKIRO man and the IKIRO project. He sometimes wrote IKIRO in front of the people who were really poor. This bitter experience motivated him to introduce the donation systems in the IKIRO project later. One day he had a collaboration with the Datoga tribe. He pantomimed and wrote IKIRO, and they did a traditional ritual. It was like exchanging spirits.

生きろの人は作ることのルーツについて考えるためにアフリカを旅し、原始的な生活をするいくつかの部族を訪れた。 彼らのシンプルな生き方は、生きろの人に強いインスピレーションを与えた。 貧しい人たちの前で「生きろ」を書くこともあり、その苦い経験が、後に生きろプロジェクトにドネーションを導入するきっかけとなった。 ある日、生きろの人はダトーガ族とのコラボレーションを試みた。 彼はパントマイムをして「生きろ」を書き、彼らは伝統的な儀式を行った。 それはまるで魂の交換のようだった。


IKIRO Factory

May 1999 / Nishijin Kitaza, Kyoto Japan / 15mx35mx5m / Bricks, Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, The Artist / Photo by Yasunori Tanioka

The exhibition “IKIRO Factory” was held in a former traditional Kimono factory. The atmosphere of the exhibition was calm and IKIRO man only used natural daylight for the installation. He stood by the desk and kept writing IKIRO quietly. The IKIRO papers that he had written in many countries were installed on the floor. This installation became the basic style of the IKIRO project. Visitors were able to stay at a cafe in the factory and read books about IKIRO project. Since this exhibition the donation system has been combined with the project.


IKIRO Factory
Van Gogh & IKIRO

IKIRO at Kröller-Müller Museum & sonsbeek

IKIRO at Kröller-Müller Museum / April - September 2001 / "IKIRO/Be alive" - A group exhibition of Japanese artists / Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands / 15mx17mx4m / Soil, Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, Potato, The Artist / Photo by Yuko Tanaka
IKIRO at Sonsbeek 9 / July - September 2001 / "Locus Focus" Sonsbeek 9 - International Group Exhibition / Arnhem, Holland / Video Monitor, Sheets of Rice Paper, The Artist / Photo by Yuko Tanaka

IKIRO man is a big fan of Van Gogh. He even wrote a letter to Van Gogh in his dialy. He was so happy to be able to write “IKIRO” at Kröller-Müller Museum, which is famous for Van Gogh collection. IKIRO man wrote “IKIRO” like sowing seeds. Ha had special valuable experience from the 6 month long performance at the museum and the communication with the people.
IKIRO man also performed near the museum at the opening of Sonbeek 9, which was curated by Jan Hoet. Performing inside a shopping mall was a completely different from performing in a museum, and he enjoyed it.

また、生きろの人は、美術館の近くでヤン・フートがキュレーションしたSonbeek 9のオープニングでパフォーマンスも行なった。 ショッピングモール内でのパフォーマンスは、美術館でのパフォーマンスとは全く異なる経験で 彼はそれを楽しんだ。

Europe Factory

IKIRO at Historical Factory

IKIRO in Genk / September - October 2001 / "Arte´tude" - International Group Exhibition / Genk, Belgium / 35mx80mx7m / Sand, Wood, Bricks, Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, The Artist / Photo by Peter Wonder
IKIRO in Saarland / May 2007 / "Virtual Residency " - International Group Exhibition / Volklinger Factory, Germany / 12mx20mx5m / Soil, Coal, Steel, Wood, Photos, The Artist, etc.

Sometimes IKIRO project is held at former factory. The city of Genk was famous for the coalmine before they closed it. The exhibition was held for the one hundredth anniversary of the first successful coal digging in this town. The exhibition took place inside the former coal main factory. Takahiro used a huge storage room, called the “Magazijn” with a size of 30 meters by 80 meters, for his installation. He covered the floor with sand. He placed the IKIRO papers on burned wood. These natural materials symbolize the cycle of life and the return to the earth.
The second Exhibition was held at Volklingr Steel factory, which was the biggest steel factory in Germany. Now it is a UNESCO site. Takahiro traced the history of this factory. He used the red soil of Luxemburg and coal of Volklingr to make IKIRO on the grand. These were the exact same materials that people used in the factory to produce steel. Takahiro stayed there for 10 days to make the installation. After Takahiro left the space, people could step on the installation so that the 2 colors of IKIRO would be mixed together little by little. This process stood for making no border between the countries. Volklingr was sometimes part of France and sometimes part of Germany throughout its history.


IKIRO in Saarland
IKIRO History

IKIRO at Bethanien

March 2007 / Kuenstlerhause Bethanien, Berlin, Germany / 20mx35mx10m / Painting, Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, Photos, Video, Projector, The Artist, etc.

This exhibition was held at Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien GmbH Studio 1, which was used as a chapel before. Takahiro performed writing IKIRO and exhibited an installation with sheets of IKIRO paper, a big IKIRO painting made from the soil of Bethanien, IKIRO drawings, photos of the IKIRO project. He also showed a video of 1970’s Bethanien and photos of 160 years Bethanien history. There was an interview video of Michael Haerdter (the former director of Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien) and Dietlinde Peters (a member of Kreuzberg Museum) at the exhibition. Takahiro were also in the international studio program of Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien for one year.


Takahiro Suzuki
Künstlerhaus Bethanien
IKIRO - Be alive, Studio 1, 
30.03 – 15.04.2007

IKIRO on Earth

August 2008 / Schlüßhof, Lychen, Germany / 100mx40m / Nature, The Artist

There were three IKIRO Museums in the world. The first museum was in Osaka. The second one was at Theaterhasu Mitte in Berlin, and the last one was in Schuesshof. The IKIRO Museum in Schuesshof was surrounded by a lot of nature. This picturesque place was an ideal for an IKIRO Museum. It is located at a seminar house, organized by Takahiro’s friends Gerd Barnewitz and Cristina Biaggi B. The IKIRO project was dedicated to nature in Schluesshof for a special exhibition. In order to leave a message for the future, Takahiro sank IKIRO ceramic works made by the technic of primitive age. Takahiro also made a big IKIRO sign on the field.

ベルリンの北に位置するリューヘンにあるセミナーハウスのオーナー Gerd Barnewitz & Cristina Biaggi B によって特別企画された展覧会。会場には生きろ美術館もあり生きろの人はそこで「生きろ」を書いた。草原には草を刈って「生きろ」を作り、縄文焼きで作った「生きろ」のオブジェはパフォーマンスで湖に沈めた。

World Tours

IKIRO with local people & material

September 2008 / "Art trail in Cork" - International Group Exhibition / Cork, Ireland / Takahiro Suzuki (Installation & Performance) & Mick O'Shea (Sound) / 70mx30mx8m / Wood, Straw, Sheets of Rice Paper, Japanese Ink, The Artist

It was held in a former factory. Takahiro made a big ship shape with the material he found in the factory. He hung IKIRO papers in the ship and put the marks of “SEI “, which is a part of IKIRO letters on the ground with straw. Mick O’Shea is a visual/sound artist whose collaboration with Takahiro took the form of a non-verbal conversation where the vocabulary element was the amplified writing of IKIRO and sampled sounds taken from the space and the local environment. The manipulated sounds were played back into the space and improvised so sound and writing are in dialogue.

生きろの人はアイルランドのコークという街で船形をした「生きろ」の作品を作った。船の天井には「生きろ」の紙が吊るされ、船の周りはワラで作った「生」の文字で覆われた。コークは港町で知られるコーブからも近く、箱舟に見立てたこの作品に人々が集まり、生きろの人は地元のノイズ・ミュージシャン、Mick O’Sheaと共にパフォーマンスを行った。床に敷かれたキャンバスの上に生きろの人はピートモスを使い全身で「生きろ」を描いた。船の帆をイメージした「生きろ」ペインティングは乾燥した後、会場に飾られた。


IKIRO for Future

June 2009 / "ID" - International Group Exhibition / Former Orphanage, Gorzow, Poland / Eco Balloons, 100 children, The Artist

Takahiro did a workshop and held an event with 100 children, teachers and staff at a former orphanage in Gorzow in Poland.
Each balloon had colorful IKIRO signs and a one-word message written by each child. On a signal from Takahiro 100 balloons flew in the sky at the same time. Children gave shouts of joy. This experience gave him a new feeling for the IKIRO Project. He thought everyone could share the energy of the word IKIRO with this kind of workshop.


Day by day

Life is performance  

Here are some photos of “IKIRO” Project. IKIRO man will keep writing the word “IKIRO” through his life in this world.

Time doesn’t stop, and all things are impermanent. Where did we come from? Where are we going? IKIRO man keeps writing the word “IKIRO”  and expresses himself with “IKIRO” through his life. It is not religion it might be art. He does write the word “IKIRO” at least as a human being who lives on this planet.