You reach out – right now – for something: Questioning the Concept of Fashion

You reach out – right now – for something: Questioning the Concept of Fashion

Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito


February 12, 2014

You reach out – right now – for something: Questioning the Concept of Fashion
February 22–May 18, 2014 

Art Tower Mito 
1-6-8 Goken-cho
Mito-shi, Ibaraki 310-0063 

T +81 (0) 29 227 8111 
cacpr [​at​]

“Fashion is conceived as a system that supplies the newest information about trends, season by season. Due to the overwhelming amount of new collections and information about what is en vogue today, people tend to automatically stop creating their own ideas. However, fashion can still be the trigger for people to express diversity.”
–Nakako Hayashi

Nakako Hayashi, who worked as an editor of Shiseido’s fashion/culture magazine Hanatsubaki, has been enthusiastically committed to fashion culture and has become one of the most important fashion specialists in Japan. The independent magazine she publishes, here and there, receives admirers all over the world. In her book Kakucho suru fashion (Expanding Fashion, Space Shower Network; 2011), she introduces artists who explore unique and contemporary approaches towards the concept of fashion. From haute couture to prêt-à-porter to street wear, fashion itself, in coherence with the change of people’s lifestyles and concept of values, has successfully evolved and could be viewed as a sensitive mirror of our time. In the age of globalization, humans constantly produce new desires and fashion has evolved into an economic tool for consumerism. Hayashi did coverage on Paris Fashion Week during the ’90s, putting emphasis on artists and designers with a critical awareness for fashion in the consumer industry. In her work, she documents creative thoughts, which differs from conventional fashion design, and interprets them through her unique point of view after long-term observation.

This exhibition, based on Hayashi’s book, invites not only the artists she introduces, but also other representative artists of new tendencies in the current fashion scene. The show reveals fashion as a cultural crossroad, bringing together the various genres of art, fashion and literature. The viewers will encounter a selection of works by contemporary artists who make use of fashion to cultivate the aesthetic senses in modest everyday life and to communicate a lifestyle and mindset to others. Further focus lies on activities carried out by artists who incorporate performance and workshops, as well as the works of photographers and contemporary artists involved with them.

At the venue, new works by Takashi Homma, who created fashion photography in a documentary style, reconstructing the scene of the 1990s from a present perspective. Kazunari Hattori gives insight into tendencies of independent publishing such as purple, Nieves or here and there, celebrating the experimental creative mind. Through works of Miranda July, Ryoko Aoki, and Yurie Nagashima, the show examines the idea of “girlie,” originally representing a culture stream also relating to feminism, now often symbolized by the Riot Girls. This part of the exhibition reviews the main characteristics of the girly movement, “aspects of everyday life,” “initiative” and “diverse media for expression” to further discuss the aesthetics and passion of the term “girlie.” Meanwhile, it’s important to Hayashi Nakako that clothes people produced are not only to be worn, they are something we want to live with, a beauty we want to appreciate and enjoy for a long time. There should not be a separation between art and fashion. With drawings, performance and installation, Susan Cianciolo, COSMIC WONDER, and BLESS / Takehito Koganezawa break up the framework of fashion/art/design. Bringing up to an emotional level, fashion is a life companion. A fabric that softly snuggles to your skin, old and outworn pajamas or a shirt you were wearing every day contains irreplaceable memories. Closely examining broken clothes that mean so much to someone, Kaoru Yokoo carefully mends the traces of time, but with a surprising touch. While Keisuke Kanda×Masashi Asada, Pascale Gatzen, and Form on Words apply a series of workshops and collaborations, weaving out the close relationship between human and object. In this section the approaches of artists experimenting with a new way of communication between the giver and the receiver are also highlighted. 

“Fashion is where our passion for living shows. It presents our creativity and sensibility and embodies the devoted act of sharing ourselves with other people,” commented artist Pascale Gatzen. Without showing draped mannequins and set apart from past fashion exhibitions, this show aims to trigger, to recover our own language in talking about fashion.

Organized by Mito Arts Foundation
Grant from The Asahi Shimbun Foundation
Supported by Asahi Breweries, Ltd., BUGHAUS, Diptrics Inc., Epson Sales Japan Corporation, imagine artplanning, NOGUCHI SOUBI CO.,Ltd., Photographer’s Laboratory
Curated by Mizuki Takahashi (Senior Curator, Art Tower Mito Contemporary Art Center)
Original concept: Nakako Hayashi


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Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito
February 12, 2014

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