Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hussein Chalayan from fashion and back

I finally made it to the Hussein Chalayan exhibit! I wrote about the exhibit before it started and it was too bad I couldn't go earlier.

In an interview, Chalayan has stated that he's more like a fashion artist than a fashion designer and I think this exhibit displayed that well. It is definitely not just a retrospective of his past collections, but an installation of his artwork. I was especially surprised by the amount of films on display. Chalayan incorporates so many ideas and topics in his work, and I found it quite difficult to wrap my head around the underlying meaning of his films. Another reason to go to an exhibit as soon as it starts--so that there's time to go again. I wish I could go re-watch the films and try to deepen my understanding. They were very interesting and thought-provoking to say the least.
My favorites were "After Words" (Autumn/Winter 2000) and "Absent Presence" (short film, 2005). I definitely recommend watching the video for "After Words". Chalayan was "inspired by the plight of the refugee and the horror of having to leave one's home suddenly in times of war". I won't go into details here but watching the furniture transformed into clothing and ultimately leaving the room still and lifeless was an extremely powerful image.
Tilda Swinton plays a biologist in "Absent Presence", which "explores the neurosis and paranoia surrounding the issue of terrorism, inspired by the introduction of 'hard line' policies on immigration and the resulting suspicion surrounding foreign individuals". I felt that this was easier to understand than the other films and watching different scenes on five screens at once created an amazing effect. This is an extremely relevant topic to our society today and it makes you wonder if this is the kind of future that awaits us.

I felt that Chalayan is depicting conflicts and themes that are actually connected strongly to our lives. I could only be amazed at Chalayan's ability to show those conflicts and themes through fashion.

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo
4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku, Tokyo
TEL: 03-5245-4111
Hours: 10:00-18:00
Exhibit: ~6/20

TEL: 03-5245-4111

The quotes describing "After Words" and "Absent Presence" is from the official book. Click to read more on what I thought about the official book...

The official book is very nice--it goes through all of the installations and includes an interview between Chalayan and Yuko Hasegawa (the chief curator of MOT), both in Japanese and English. What I found incredibly disappointing though, was that the English version of the interview was written terribly. The grammar was incorrect and the style was unpleasing. It did not flow at all and I couldn't get through the whole interview. 
In Japan, English is used incorrectly in a lot of places and I'm always shocked that it doesn't get corrected before being published/opened to the public. The exhibition was really wonderful and as I said, the book itself is lovely, but it totally let me down to see these errors. Maybe this is unimportant to most people, but I appreciate it when you can see and feel that a work has been executed impeccably, when you know that something has been looked over countless times to ensure perfection. I think it's normal to expect that kind of quality from a book that is widely published. Has anyone purchased this book/read the interview? I'd love to hear opinions.



Anonymous said...

Great post!

Clare said...

I love him...

tweet tweet tweet


Charlotte Elise Jay said...

I LOVE his work!!

Talented designer

Char x

Ruta, Look Ugly in a Photograph said...

Wow, his work is amazing. He definitely is an artist.


wow, lucky you! how cool :) what an amazing designer! i love this post ♥

mel said...

amaizng! wow lucky girl:)

pigtails and blushing cheeks said...

immediately went to youtube to search up the "After Words" video, it's simply mindblowing! i'm still searching around for the Absent Presence, it sounds amazing since he's exploring such topical issues!

great post :D

Hiroko said...

This is awesome, how do you keep so well informed with what is going on & being shown, you seem to know all about exhibitions taking place :P

I have been ok, it's time for exams right now so I've been studying a lot but I am distracted easily hah.
How about you?

Ashley said...

Hi Kiyo! That looks awesome! I envy you!

Btw, I linked you on my blog. Hope you'll like it!

iamronel said...

wow you so great said...

wow amazing post has it different language ..

Winnie said...

I saw that exhibition when it first opened in London. It was fantastic!

kumar said...

lovely pictures looks really nice

Style Queen said...

looks cool indeed!


Marinka said...

that exhibit seemed nice! I like your photos

Berlin said...

Never heard of this person ><

Can't wait to see some of your outfit posts =)

Thanks for the comment.

Picking strawberries,

Chloe, Butterfly Cupcakes said...

That looks like a great exhibition.

Martwa Marta said...

amazing! you seem to be well informed about all the most exquisite exhibits in your city!

SabinePsynopsis said...

I wonder if this exhibition will also been shown in other countries. That would be so great. You are so right, he never comes over just as a clothes designer, but as an artist who uses clothes to express his thoughts and to ask questions.


amazing photos! ive always wanted to go to japan too! come follow me xoxo