9. Rei Kawakubo || Object / Subject – Hybrid Bodies / Radical Forms

A radical rethinking of the human form. Accompanied by excerpts from Merce Cunningham’s Scenario dance performance of 1997, with costumes from the Body Meets Dress / Dress Meets Body line, in all their ”lumpy and bumpy” glory.

Hybrid Bodies conclude our tour into the avant-garde universe of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between @ The Met Fifth Avenue.

But we’ll stay in UES a little longer.

August 6th, 2017

3. Rei Kawakubo || War / Peace – Today’s Black / Tomorrow’s Dream

“Personally, I don’t care about function at all. . . . When I hear ‘where could you wear that?’
or ‘it’s not very wearable,’ or ‘who would wear that?’ to me it’s just a sign that someone
missed the point.” – Rei Kawakubo


And yet…

Not only they are wearable, some even feature the ultimate practicality: pockets! How’s that for wearability, dear missing-the-point critics!

Views from Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between @ The Met Fifth Avenue continue with Life / Loss – Space / Curve coming up next.

August 6th, 2017

2. Rei Kawakubo || Then / Now – Self / Other

Of all her divisive designs on view, perhaps the most alienating one was the black overall lace coat from the ”Ceremony of Separation” line. Comments from fellow visitors ranged from politely dismissive to downright ironic – totally missing the poetry behind the layers of pleats and ribbons and children’s dresses sewn together into a strong emotional statement: accepting loss as part of life and finding comfort in traditions and rituals.

The mood automatically lightened up with these East-meets-West geometric designs from ”Cubisme” or the padded wool tartans from the ”Inside Decoration” collection.

A wise lady to her friend, on the Male / Female ”Persona” jackets: ”It’s all sleeves… so that people don’t get too close to you!”
Views from Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between @ The Met Fifth Avenue continue with War / Peace coming up next.

August 6th, 2017

1. Rei Kawakubo || Fashion / Not Fashion – Art / Not Art

Agree or disagree, this is a designer whose body of work requires you take sides: either you like it or you don’t, it’s as simple as that. As for me, a long time admirer of her revolutionary spirit, seeing her designs displayed as works of art in a seamless narrative against a stark white backdrop, brought about two observations:

  • If money were no object, I would be a CdG moving ad.
  • If, in a different life, I were a designer, these would have been my signature works (by these I mean the entire archive, representative pieces from which were on view in Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, through September 4, 2017 at The Met).

So now that all is said and done and the spotlight has been shifted to the infinitely more Instagrammable New York Fashion Week and back onto the chic and glam fashion crowd about town, let’s take another look at Rei Kawakubo’s perfectly imperfect, beautifully ugly, alienatingly inventive, brilliantly unique designs; her Art of the In-Between: 

Note from the guide: <<Mu (emptiness) is suggested through the architectural leitmotif of the circle, which in Zen Buddhism symbolizes the void, and ma (space) is evoked through the inter – play of structural forms. Ma expresses void as well as volume, a thing with and without shape — not defined by concrete boundaries. Amplified by the stark whiteness of the gallery surfaces, the visual effect is one of both absence and presence.>>

More views from Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between @ The Met Fifth Avenue, coming up.

August 6th, 2017

The Shapeshifting Master of Modern Art~ Francis Picabia @ MoMA [part 5]

The Kiss (Le Baiser) c. 1925-26. Oil and enamel paint on canvas in a frame likely by Pierre Legrain
Idyll (Idylle) c. 1925-27. Oil and enamel paint on wood
Woman with Matches [II] (Portrait of a Woman on a Blue Background) (La Femme aux allumettes [II] [Portrait de femme sur fond bleu]) c. 1924-25. Oil, enamel paint, matches, coins, curlers and hairpins on canvas
Promenade des Anglais (Midi) c. 1924-25. Oil, enamel paint, feathers, pasta and leather on canvas, in a snakeskin frame by Pierre Legrain

Painting (Flowerpot) (Peinture [Pot de fleurs]) c. 1924-25. Enamel paint, Ripolin paint-can lids, brushes, wooden stretcher wedges, string and quill toothpicks on canvas
Woman with Monocle (La Femme au monocle). Alternative title: Woman with Pink Gloves (Man with Gloves) (La Femme aux gants roses [L’Homme aux gants]) c. 1925-26. Oil and enamel paint on board
From the accompanying tag: ”In 1926, the review ‘This Quarter’ reproduced thirteen of Picabia’s ‘Monster’ paintings, including this one, which bore the title ‘Woman with Pink Gloves’. By the time of the painting’s first known exhibition in 1956 however, it had acquired the title ‘Man with Gloves’. The work is displayed here with both titles restored. Although neither necessarily originated with Picabia, both speak to the androgynous character of his wasp-waisted, white-suited figure. With its green face, single oversized eye, and pustule-pink hands presumably clad in driving gloves, it is one of Picabia’s quintessential Côte d’Azur Monsters. The Surrealist André Breton was one of its early owners.”

Sphinx, 1929. Oil on canvas
Μélibée, 1930. Oil on canvas
Aello, 1930. Oil on canvas
Portrait of the Artist (Portrait de l’artiste), 1934. Oil on wood

From the accompanying tag: ”This work began as a portrait of Picabia painted by the German artist Bruno Eggert in 1934. Eggert gave it to Picabia, who then added his own touches: a pair of dark-tinted glasses on his nose, a face in the lover left corner, a transparent female body across the picture, the edge of a stretcher in the upper right corner. He also signed and dated the work. Here, Picabia adopted another artist’s work as the support for his own, with over-painting used to assert rather than deny.”

Portrait of a Woman (Portrait de femme), 1935-37. Oil on canvas
Fratellini Clown (Le Clown Fratellini), 1937-38. Oil on canvas

Part 5 concludes our round of Francis Picabia’s retrospective at MoMA.

Connecting the pieces:

January 30th, 2017