An exhibition devoted to designer Issey Miyake will run from Wednesday, March 16 to Monday, June 13, 2016 at the National Art Center, Tokyo. The Center has considered design to be an important exhibition theme since it opened in 2007 and is devoted to presenting a wide range of artistic expressions and proposing new perspectives. This exhibition, MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION: The Work of Miyake Issey, promises to be an unprecedented event, focusing on the entirety of Miyake’s 45-year career, from 1970 to the present.
Miyake has consistently presented new methodologies and possibilities for making clothes, while always focusing on the future. It all began in 1960 when Miyake, a student at Tama Art University, sent a letter to the World Design Conference, which was being held for the first time in Japan that year. The letter took issue with the fact that clothing design was not included in the event. At that point, Miyake’s notion that clothing is not merely “fashion” – i.e., something that changes with the times – but a form of design that is closely connected to our lives on a much more universal level was already apparent. Miyake has always explored the relationship between a piece of cloth and the body, and the space that is created as a result, unrestricted by any existing framework. In addition, along with his team of designers, he persistently undertakes research and development to create clothing that combines both innovation and comfort.
This exhibition will shed light on Miyake’s ideas about making things and his approach to design by examining his entire career, from his earliest work to his latest projects, and his explorations of greater creative possibilities in the future. This exhibition will provide viewers with an opportunity to expand the boundaries of their thought and stimulate their creativity, allowing everyone, young and old alike, to experience the joy of creation.
Profile: Issey Miyake
Clothing designer. Born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1938. Established the Miyake Design Studio in 1970. Began participating in the Paris Collection in 1973. By applying ideas associated with traditional techniques and cutting-edge technology to the concept of “a piece of cloth,” Miyake has continually created unique clothing. Awarded the Order of Cultural Merit in 2010. Acutely aware of temporal and social needs, Issey Miyake makes clothes that place the utmost importance on human beings. This is evident from Miyake’s comment that he hopes “to make clothes like jeans and T-shirts that many people can wear freely.” While making the most of traditional techniques and craftsmanship in his clothing designs, Miyake has continually strived to develop new materials and methods. These attempts led to epochal designs unlike conventional approaches to making clothes, such as PLEATS PLEASE and A-POC, adding another level of brilliance to people’s daily lives. For the first time ever, we present the production process Miyake uses to make his pleated products. The graphic designer Taku Satoh’s display design will function as a place of discovery where viewers can both enjoy as well as gain a deeper understanding of Miyake’s approach to making clothes. In addition, Satoh’s visual design will convey the unique allure of Miyake’s clothing. In Rooms A and B whose space is designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, Miyake’s clothes are exhibited on the new “Grid Bodies” especially designed for the exhibition by Yoshioka.
◎Displaying Miyake’s Ideas about Making Clothes, ◎Tradition and the Latest Technology. A catalogue, featuring photographs by Hiroshi Iwasaki will be published by Kyuryudo Art Publishing Co., Ltd. in a bilingual edition with texts in Japanese and English. ◎Exhibition Catalogue with Photographs of Every Work, ◎Display and Visual Design by Taku Satoh／Spatial Design by Tokujin Yoshioka using “Grid Bodies”
The body is the starting point of all the design practices related to clothing. As a tangible presence, it makes designs come alive through gestures, movement, postures. Issey Miyake has always put the body, its physicality as well as its needs, at the center of his design activities. However, right from the beginning of his career, his views on the matter have never been predictable. He trained in couture in Paris, in fact, but he was a graduate in graphic design: his take on clothes-making is singular for DNA. For Issey Miyake, the dialogue between body and clothing consists at once of presence and absence, in the sense that the shape of the clothing is created by the body itself, only when it is worn, with the space between cloth and body being of uttermost importance. A dress might appear as a formal abstraction when laid flat, only to reveal its purpose when worn, the balance of pragmatism and invention being a veritable Issey Miyake signature.
The work of Issey Miyake spawns over forty years of intense experimentation with a keen attention to the human factor. With both striking coherence and a constant eagerness to test new solutions, in fabric-making as well as in clothes-making - the two activities being intrinsically intertwined in his views of bold innovator - Issey Miyake has developed a unique body of work, at once formally inventive, soulful and pragmatic. He is a designer, first and foremost: he makes things. Issey Miyake creates wearable solutions to basic human needs.
That's what clothes, far from being an expression of status, wealth or even sex appeal, represent for him.
Over the years, Issey Miyake has staged numerous exhibitions as a way to mark the turning points in his ongoing research. MIYAKE ISSEY EXHIBITION: The work of Miyake Issey is, so far, the most comprehensive overview of the Issey Miyake oeuvre as a whole, and, as such, it is the first of its kind. With its vastness, depth and detail, it shows the basic principles of Issey Miyake's design drive and the ever-evolving solutions he has developed. Just like the previous exhibitions, it keeps an active outlook, marking the beginning of a new phase.
Issey Miyake's work stems from a challenging yet elementary question: how to wrap the body, which is three dimensional, with fabric, which is two dimensional, without forgetting that the body is also alive and moving.
Issey Miyake's answers raise topics such as freedom, invention, cultural cross-pollination, innovation, tradition, environmental awareness. All this is intertwined in a profoundly cohesive gamut of different creations. Issey Miyake's work is, metaphorically speaking, a piece of cloth, just as much as using pieces of cloth has been his main creative challenge over the years.