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Textile Arts Council Saturday Lecture: Embracing the In-Between: Comme des Garçon, Butoh, and Ma

April 17, 2021, 10:00 am11:00 am
Rei Kawakubo /Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between exibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rei Kawakubo /Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between exibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: photo courtesy of Catherine Cerny.

Virtual Event

Through the analysis of documentaries, archives, reviews, contemporary dance, and fashion in Japan, this presentation reveals how the dance and costumes of Butoh anticipated the design aesthetic of Comme des Garçons and how Kawakubo and Butoh utilize Japan’s sartorial history and philosophy to challenge western perceptions of Art and Fashion.

Rei Kawakubo, founder and artistic director of Comme des Garçons, concedes her work is influenced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist concepts of mu, or emptiness, and ma, the space within the emptiness. Another Japanese art form that sartorially reflects ma and mu is in Butoh, a dance partially envisioned as a reaction to the Western influence that had permeated Japanese culture after World War Two. Founded in 1959 by Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, the dance of Butoh was an exploration of the grotesque, space, the body, and the polarities of ma.

While Hijikata explored space around the body with his own body, Kawakubo also responded to space around the body with her fantastical new shapes with her “Lumps and Bumps” collection, otherwise known as “Body Meet Dress – Dress Meet Body”. By having “no meaning”, embracing mu, ma, and that place in-between, Rei Kawakubo’s clothes are conceptually limitless with possibilities.

Carol McLennan has been working for costume departments in film and television for the past 14 years, working with productions such as Damages, The Avengers, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Ms. McLennan recently co-curated FIT’s Graduate Studies exhibition Empress of Seventh Avenue. She is currently finishing her M.A. from FIT’s Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, and Museum Studies. This event will be presented online via Zoom.

Ticket Information

$5 for FAMSF members and Students, $10 General Public.


Order tickets online

Contact Information

Textile Arts Council
tac@famsf.org
(415) 750-3627