VIDEO: A look inside the Comme des Garçons exhibition at the MET
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NEW YORK—The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute presents Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, from May 4 to September 4, 2017 at the The Met Fifth Avenue, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, Floor 2.

Comme des Garçons at the Met

A thematic exhibition, rather than a traditional retrospective, this is The Costume Institute’s first monographic show on a living designer since the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition in 1983.

Rei Kawakubo
Young Rei Kawakubo

“In blurring the art/fashion divide, Kawakubo asks us to think differently about clothing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Met.

“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.”

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 exhibition features approximately 140 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear designs for Comme des Garçons, dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection.
Objects are organized into nine dominant and recurring aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Absence/Presence, Design/Not Design, Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Model/Multiple, High/Low, Then/Now, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes.

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall, on The Met Fifth Avenue’s second floor, has been transformed into an open, brightly lit white box with geometric structures.
Intended to be a holistic, immersive experience, the space facilitates engagement with the fashions on display.
A suggested pathway begins with four ensembles enclosed in a cylinder, reflecting Kawakubo’s enduring interest in blurring the boundaries between body and dress. Visitors, however, are encouraged to forge their own paths and experience the exhibition as a voyage of discovery.
The spare space has no text on the walls—instead, at the entrance, visitors receive an exhibition guide with gallery text and object labels.

Exhibition Credits
The exhibition is curated by Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute, who collaborated on the exhibition design with Rei Kawakubo.
Lighting for the exhibition was created by Thierry Dreyfus @ Eyesight Group.
Heads and wigs are created and styled by Julien d’Ys.
The design for the 2017 Costume Institute Benefit is created by Raul Avila, who has produced the Benefit décor since 2007.
Special thanks to Apple, Condé Nast, Farfetch, H&M, Maison Valentino, and Warner Bros. for their support of the exhibition and benefit.

Comme des Garcons book

A publication, Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between, authored by Andrew Bolton with creative direction and design by Fabien Baron and Yuki Iwashiro of Baron & Baron, accompanies the exhibition.
It features new photography by Nicholas Alan Cope, Inez and Vinoodh, Katerina Jebb, Kazumi Kurigami, Ari Marcopoulos, Craig McDean, Brigitte Niedermair, Paolo Roversi, and Collier Schorr.

Comme des Garcons book

A rare interview with Rei Kawakubo and a chronology of her career, amplified with quotes from the designer, provide additional insight into her aesthetic and career.
Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, the 248-page hardcover book has 205 color illustrations and comes in a slipcase with a pullout poster of a Paolo Roversi photograph that was shot for the publication. It retails for $50.

To know more about the exhibition, click HERE.

Comme des Garçons at the Met
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