Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen saturate Berlin gallery in sound, vision and visceral sensation

At Esther Schipper gallery Berlin, artists Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen draw on the elemental forces of sound and light in a meditative and disorienting joint exhibition

artwork by ryoji ikeda, large screen with circular projections at show by Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen
Ryoji Ikeda, point of no return, 2018. Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2023. Courtesy the artist, Almine Rech Gallery, and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul
(Image credit: Photography © Andrea Rossetti)

In Berlin, Finnish artist duo Grönlund-Nisunen (Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen), and Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda are presenting a joint exhibition, each taking over half of Esther Schipper gallery.

Organised by Olivier Renaud-Clément, Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen's show is a meeting of technology-powered art minds and follows a longstanding personal and professional relationship between the artists. 

In the first joint presentation of their work, the show seeks to highlight the common elements and distinctions of their practices, which each deploy innovative sound and light to create environments that rouse a phenomenological and intense, bodily response from their audience. 

still from artwork at esther shipper

Grönlund-Nisunen, Scattered Horizon, 2023

(Image credit: Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photography: © Andrea Rossetti)

Viewers may recall Ikeda's epic intervention at London’s 180 The Strand in 2021, a sensory assault course of sound, light and data. One of the standout works from that show, point of no return, has made its way to Esther Schipper. As Ikeda accurately explained of the work at the time: ‘point of no return is a very simple, very intense piece. I paint a black circle on a wall and project light around it, and this intensifies its blackness. It feels like it's always firing, you get a bit scared. It becomes overwhelming.’

The exhibition is the fifth show at the gallery for Grönlund-Nisunen, whom Ikeda describes as 'one of the most important artists to me among my contemporaries'. The duo are known for taking elemental forces – gravity, magnetism, or radiation – and translating these into poetic motifs that envelop viewers in electromagnetic radiation and sound waves. 

screen holding circular projections

Grönlund-Nisunen, Scattered Horizon, 2023

(Image credit: Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photography: © Andrea Rossetti)

A new work for the show, Scattered Horizon, seeks to disorientate viewers by toying with the ordinarily stable motif of the horizon line. ‘The new work Scattered Horizon is an experimentation in a dark exhibition space. Projected slowly-swaying horizontal lines correspond with low sine wave tones modulating with each other, offering a slightly disorienting and meditative multisensory experience,‘ say the duo. ‘We have known and appreciated Ryoji and his work for [a] long [time] and Tommi´s label has also released a record by him. We have exhibited with him on some occasions during the years and it is a great pleasure to be able to do it again.’

Alongside the works by Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen, a selection of new, recent, and historical works by Estonian sound and installation artist Kaarel Kurismaa will be on view in the gallery's bookstore area.

red line artwork made from light

Grönlund-Nisunen, Scattered Horizon, 2023 (detail)

(Image credit: Courtesy the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul. Photography © Andrea Rossetti)

Ryoji Ikeda and Grönlund-Nisunen's exhibition will be on view at Esther Schipper, Berlin until 25 February 2023. estherschipper.com (opens in new tab)

Harriet Lloyd-Smith is the Arts Editor of Wallpaper*, responsible for the art pages across digital and print, including profiles, exhibition reviews, and contemporary art collaborations. She started at Wallpaper* in 2017 and has written for leading contemporary art publications, auction houses and arts charities, and lectured on review writing and art journalism. When she’s not writing about art, she’s making her own.