Client: National Design & Craft Gallery
Role: Exhibition Designer
Curator: Gemma Williams
Photography: Sarah Doyle
Graphic Design: Design by Slice
Set against the backdrop of groundbreaking Japanese designers such as Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, and on the Irish side, John Rocha, Lainey Keogh and Sybil Connolly, this exhibition celebrated and promoted the work of contemporary designers from both Ireland and Japan. By having work on show that dated back to 1957, one could see how ideas, practices and processes are reworked and reinterpreted.
This cyclical nature of the fashion industry influenced the curator, Gemma Williams, in selecting four themes for the exhibition; Deform, Perform, Reform and Transform.
From a curatorial perspective, rather than assigning objects to specific themes, visitors were invited to make their own judgements, and create their own narrative as they explored the exhibition.
In Gallery 1 we played with the notion of Kabuki, a traditional Japanese form of theatre in which costumes are revealed and the black shapes of stage hands help frame the setting. This fed into the idea of having the garments loosely placed and often at first glance partially hidden. The loosely placed format also made sense in terms of allowing the four themes to blend into each other.
To contrast with this and provide a different viewing experience, gallery 2 had garments laid flat and used video footage to bring the works to life.
By displaying the clothes in a variety of formats we aimed to demonstrate that the garments are versatile, referencing the fact that they take on new meanings depending on by whom and how they are worn.
The actual shapes themselves of the exhibition design structure linked directly to the graphic identity of the show, which was based around bold geometric shapes such as triangles, circles and rectangles.
The exhibition then travelled to Farmleigh Gallery in Dublin.