Rei Kawakubo - Comme des Garçons

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

Rei Kawakubo: Art of the In-Between



The Costume Institute from the Metropolitan Museum of Art presents ‘Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’, on view from May 4 through September 4, 2017.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Presented in the Museum’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall on the second floor, the exhibition examines Kawakubo’s fascination with interstitiality, or the space between boundaries. Existing within and between entities —self / other, object / subject, fashion / anti-fashion— Kawakubo’s work challenges conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and, ultimately, fashionability. Not a traditional retrospective, the thematic exhibition will be The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

The exhibition features approximately 120 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from her first Paris runway show in 1981 to her most recent collection. Organized thematically rather than chronologically, the examples will examine Kawakubo’s revolutionary experiments in interstitiality or “in-betweenness”—the space between boundaries. By situating her designs within and between dualities such as East/West, male/female, and past/present, Kawakubo not only challenges the rigidity and artificiality of such binaries, but also resolves and dissolves them. To reflect this, mannequins are arranged at eye level with no physical barriers, thereby dissolving the usual distance between objects on display and museum visitors.

“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. “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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