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


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Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, will be displayed from May 4 through to September 4 2017 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969); Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The dazzling spring exhibition will inspect Kawakubo’s captivation with interstitially, or ‘the space between boundaries.’ Indeed, this in-between space is exposed in Kawakubo’s work as ‘an aesthetic sensibility, establishing an unsettling zone of oscillating visual ambiguity that challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability.’ A modern retrospective and thematic exhibition, this will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the much celebrated Yves Saint Laurent exhibition of 1983.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969); Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The show will boast around 150 samples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection. Each piece will be filed into categories; eight dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work. These will include Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo is unafraid to break down the fictional walls between these dualisms choosing to expose their ‘artificiality and arbitrariness.’

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), Body Meets Dress–Dress Meets Body, spring/summer 1997; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Met, spoke out about the upcoming show, stating, “In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing. Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute Andrew Bolton will explore work that often looks like sculpture in an exhibition that will challenge our ideas about fashion’s role in contemporary culture.”

“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Bolton, “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), Body Meets Dress–Dress Meets Body, spring/summer 1997; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rei Kawakubo said, “I have always pursued a new way of thinking about design…by denying established values, conventions, and what is generally accepted as the norm.  And the modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion…imbalance… unfinished… elimination…and absence of intent.”

The star studded Met Gala will take place on May 1, 2017 in celebration of the exhibition opening. The evening’s co-chairs will be Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, and Anna Wintour. The much publicised and celebrated event is The Costume Institute’s key source of yearly capital for exhibitions, publications, acquisitions, and capital improvements alike, making it a key event in the fashion calendar.

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Rei Kawakubo (Japanese, born 1942) for Comme des Garçons (Japanese, founded 1969), Blue Witch, spring/summer 2016; Courtesy of Comme des Garçons. Photograph by © Paolo Roversi; Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art 7.

Whether exploring eras or icons, this is sure to be a land-mark exhibition eagerly anticipated by the fashion and art world alike.

Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between will take place at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute from May 4-September 4, 2017

 

Rachael Martin

Written by Rachael Martin

Rachael is a graduate from Queen's University, Belfast with a bachelor's in English Literature with Creative Writing. A freelance writer and blogger, her hobbies include blogging and reading.


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