Blog Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between

Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between

Posted Nov. 30, 2017, 8:15 a.m. by T

Advertisement
KFAI - Roar of the Underground

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

Andrew Bolton

Yale University Press

If you are into design, Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons will ring a couple of bells as she has been heralded as one of the most influential luminaries in her field. Ever since she debuted in Paris in 1981, she has succeeded in blurring the divide between art and fashion and transformed predominant  notions of beauty, identity, and the body.

Her fashions not only stand apart from the progenitur of clothing but also resist and actively defy labelling and clichés. Her work is centered on the concept behind the idea of the “in-between”, which according to her approach is situated between space and emptiness.

NYC’s MET Costume Institute's spring 2017 exhibition examined the work of fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, who is not unknown for being an agent provocateur challenging the status quo and what is considered to be good practice by the mainstream.

The show that was based on the theme of “in-between-ness” featured around one hundred and fifty exhibits of the womenswear Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons have become known for, not only stopping at recent collections but  dating back to the 1980s to her most recent collections.

The galleries illustrated the designer's endeavours in the space between boundaries, which are infused with a gusto for revolution.

Objects were organized into the  nine core concepts behind her aestheticism:

  • Absence/Presence
  • Design/Not Design
  • Fashion/Anti-Fashion
  • Model/Multiple
  • Then/Now
  • High/Low
  • Self/Other
  • Object/Subject and Clothes/Not Clothes

What Kawakubo accomplishes, is tearing down what is perceived to separate the aforementioned dualisms and exposing those barriers for what they are: Artificial and arbitrary.

As one who is remotely familiar with Kawakubo’s oeuvre, the show was challenging, with the astonishing garments, installation design and catalog forming an unrivaled juggernaut breaking down barriers between art and fashion, that is in book form articulated by Andrew Bolton and photography by Nicholas Alan Cope, Inez & Vinoodh, Katerina Jebb, Kazumi Kurigami, Ari Marcopoulos, Craig McDean, Brigitte Niedermair, Paolo Roversi, and Collier Schorr 

This catalogue is meant to accompany The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute exhibition, which was centered around Kawakubo’s definition of fashion:

“What I’ve only ever been interested in are clothes that one has never seen before, that are completely new, and how in what way they can be expressed. Is that called fashion? I don’t know the answer.” - Rei Kawakubo.

This lavishly illustrated publication weaves an illuminating narrative around Kawakubo’s experiments in oppositions and the spaces between boundaries.

Kawakubo regards her fashions and their environments as a Gesamtkunstwerk, i.e. a “total work of art.” This synthesis of the exhibition and this book is therefore designed as a complete expression of the Comme des Garc?ons “universe.” It is intended to be a holistic, immersive experience, facilitating a personal engagement with Kawakubo’s emissions.

A book that is minimal, arresting, and impossibly chic eye candy photography not just for hardcore fashion aficionados but one that can be appreciated by many artistic disciplinarians and one that gives insight into Kawakubo's process and thinking.

Leave a comment
Share this content

Other recent blogs

Water of Life - Koval bourbon

Posted by T
June 12, 2019, 8:42 p.m.

Water of Life - Koval bourbon Ah, Chicago you windy city with your colourful underbelly history. It has been a few moons since the days of prohibition, the moonshining it ... read more

FKA Twigs @ Carriageworks

Posted by T
June 10, 2019, 9:47 p.m.

FKA Twigs Carriageworks Sydney, Australia June 9, 2019   Full disclosure, up to tonight I had not been exposed to the microcosm that is FKA Twigs – a circumstance I ... read more

Energies in the Arts by Douglas Kahn

Posted by T
June 9, 2019, 9:58 a.m.

Energies in the Arts by Douglas Kahn The MIT Press   Hmm, “energy”. . . the good ole indestructible conserved quantity that is convertible in form and can be transferred ... read more

Water of Life - Buffalo Trace

Posted by T
June 8, 2019, 11:41 a.m.

Water of Life - Buffalo Trace It has been a few moons between visits to the Big Apple – visits that will never run danger of losing their appeal that ... read more

Neo Rauch by Michael Glover

Posted by T
June 7, 2019, 9:55 p.m.

Neo Rauch Michael Glover Lund Humphries   Now, here is an interesting one that might not necessarily be on everyone’s radar: Neo Rauch has come to prominence via subtly exposing ... read more

Advertisement
KFAI - Root Of All Evil
x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.