Rei Kawakubo, renowned avant-garde fashion designer, is currently exhibiting her newest artistic intervention — Art of the In-Between. Displayed now, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 4th to September 4th 2017, featuring more than 140 fashion items. Kawakubo is known for her daring expressions of creativity, and her ability to confront ideals in fashion, art and design. She constantly pursues the unprecedented, by merging strong artistic qualities into the fashion world.

Rei Kawakubo at the MET⎮ Courtesy of Betty Sze

Art in the In-Between⎮ Courtesy of Betty Sze

Art of the In-Between is a framework with paired juxtaposing concepts, working in dualism whereby the two contrasting notions coexist in the same space. There are a total of nine dichotomies — beautiful/grotesque, presence/absence, order/chaos, western/eastern — displaying the breadth of Kawakubo’s aesthetic expressions. Additionally, the collection is largely dominated by the color red, which goes in line with Kawakubo’s primary brand, Comme des Garçon. Through this exhibition, Kawakubo sheds light on how these opposites can transcend within their boundaries, and that lines can easily be blurred in the realm of fashion.

Art in the In-Between⎮ Courtesy of Betty Sze

Apart from the fashion designs themselves, the tangible space that the viewer walks through, also reflects her unorthodox sense of creativity. The entire sector of the MET that Art of the In Between occupies, is filled with colossal white cylinders, cubes, and spheres acting as divisions between the sub-categories of the collection. They have large openings for the audience to view the collections. The entire set up constructs a maze-like spatial dimension that leaves viewers engaged with Kawakubo’s designs at their own pace. The white space itself, resembling an empty hospital, also act as a juxtaposition that brings out the vibrancy of her collections, whereby the textural and contextual richness compensates for the lack thereof in the space surrounding it.

Art in the In-Between⎮ Courtesy of Betty Sze

Art in the In-Between⎮ Courtesy of Betty Sze

In this fascinating MET exhibition, Kawakubo effectively reveals the arbitrariness of dichotomous categories in fashion, by reinventing garments and disputing stereotypes in beauty and style.

Many thanks to Living in Clips & Betty Sze for press materials.

“References”

MET Museum (2017) Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between [Online] Available at http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2017/rei-kawakubo [Accessed 21/06/17]

Bauck, W (2017) Rei Kawakubo’s Clothes Speak for themselves at the MET’s Comme Des Garçons Exhibit [Online] Available at https://fashionista.com/2017/05/met-museum-spring-2017-costume-institute-exhibition-inside [Accessed 21/06/17]

Heinzinger, K (2017) Rei Kawakubo Comes Out for Costume Institute Preview in Paris [Online] Available at https://fashionweekdaily.com/rei-kawakubo-comes-costume-institute-preview-paris/ [Accessed 21/06/17]

Riachi, N (2017) Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between [Online] Available at http://www.livinginclips.com/2017/05/03/rei-kawakubo-comme-des-garcons-art-of-the-in-between/ [Accessed 21/06/17]