This is Issey: the work of Miyake at Tokyo’s National Art Center
The most comprehensive exhibition to date of Japanese designer Issey Miyake’s creations just opened at the magnificent National Art Center in Tokyo. The exhibition aims to give a comprehensive view into the amazing creativity of Miyake’s 45 year career to date. However, in the words of architect Tadao Ando, who made a guest appearance at the opening of the exhibition, it would be wrong to categories the show as a Miyake retrospect.
Yes, the early Janis Joplin/Jimi Hendrix second skin jersey body wear start the exhibition and we travel chronologically along Miyake’s creations in the seventies in the first ’A’ room, followed by his series of sculptural ’body’ works from the eighties in the ’B’ room. But upon entering the larger room ’C’, the immense number of works and the sheer creativity oozing out everywhere renders the chronology unimportant.
You have entered a cave of pure ideas and while some dresses might be decades old, they all look brand new and as amazing as when they were first presented. It’s clear that Miyake is looking forward, continuing to experiment with innovative materials and production techniques.
Ron Arad, dressed in his trademark black felt hat and a Miyake A-POC t-shirt for the occasion, had flown in just for the opening and wasn’t disappointed. ’This is Issey. I have nothing but superlatives to describe this. I like the fact that the show is about the exhibits and not about exhibition design,’ he comments.
And Miyake’s creations really do take centre stage. In room A and B, both designed by Tokujin Yoshioka there is only the grid-structured mannequins of cardboard (Room A) and transparent acrylic (Room B) showing Miyake’s earlier creations. Nothing else to distract the viewer’s attention. In room C, the display is a bit freer and more fun. The works are supplied with a working pleat machine, showing how Miyake’s famous pleats are made (there are live demonstration every day from 11:00 - 12:00) and a few hands on exhibits where visitors can try unfolding 132 5. miniatures into dresses.
’I wanted to show some of my working methods and the technologies I have been using these past 45 years to a broad audience and I really think the exhibition can be enjoyed by people of all ages,’ Miyake said in his opening speech. His fun and unique approach to design is sure to inspire far beyond fashion enthusiasts and Miyake fans.