MET 2017: A First Look at the Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons Exhibition

MET 2017: A First Look at the Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons Exhibition

V brings you a first look at the MET Costume Institute's new exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.

V brings you a first look at the MET Costume Institute's new exhibition, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.

Text: Ndey Buri

In an airy, skylight-lit hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art sits Rei Kawakubo, demure in her poise as she listens attentively to the remarks of Andrew Bolton, head curator in charge of the Costume Institute. Bolton begins, "Rei Kawakubo has defined and redefined the aesthetics of our age. As she is known to choose not to describe her work, Rei allows her fashions to speak for you whether we are conscious of it or not."

On the skillful thematic attention to detail and Art of the In-Between, Bolton had this to say: "Rei demonstrates that the body has no balance. Her work makes the art vs. fashion debate redundant. Rei examines the subject of the 'in-between' and breaks down the false walls between the dualisms of art vs. fashion. She truly illustrates that the mind is free to let the body create." Bolton also gave insight into the what visitors to the exhibition can expect, "By not including text to accompany the works of art, Rei wants visitors to engage and they will be provided with a booklet which encourages a pathway around the exhibit that dutifully tells the tale of Rei Kawakubo and Comme des Garçons."

Kawakubo is the first living designer to be honored in a monographic show at the MET since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition back in 1983. MET director, Thomas P. Campbell provided insight as to how Kawakubo's work sought out the museum's distinction: "Rei Kawakubo blurs the distinction between art and fashion with thematic work. She effortlessly creates a new aesthetic vocabulary." Additionally, Kawakubo's significance to her home country of Japan is made evident by Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, former United States Ambassador to Japan as she notes, "Rei's vision is universal. Her commitment to excellence and attention to detail is what have people walking in the streets of Tokyo in her image. Her vision transcends clothes."

With titles such as "Form/Function," "Self/Other," and "Absence/Presence," the exhibition portrays a stunning juxtaposition of works of art that cautiously ignores the dichotomy of contrasts and instead present fashion as a medium of forms that are not opposite but complementary. As the mannequins stand proudly underneath the illuminating lights of lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus and donning gravity-defying headpieces by Julien d'Ys, Kawakubo's art presents an enchanting and whimsical view into how fashion exemplifies art in exquisite silhouettes, shapes, textures and colors.

The exhibition will be open for public viewing from May 4—September 4 of this year. Click the slideshow below for an advanced preview.

Credits: Photos by Ndey Buri.

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