You reach out – right now – for something : Questioning the Concept of Fashion

February 22, 2014, to May 18, 2014

Photo by Takashi Homma

“Fashion is conceived as a system that supplies the newest information about trends, season by season. Due to the overwhelming amount of new collections and information about what is en vogue today, people tend to automatically stop creating their own ideas. However, fashion can still be the trigger for people to talk about diverse things.” Nakako Hayashi (excerpt from Expanded Fashion)

Nakako Hayashi, who was working as an editor of Japanese fashion/culture magazine “Hanatsubaki” published by Shiseido, has been enthusiastically committed in culture including fashion and art for many years. Her editing independent magazine here and there is admired all over the world. In her book titled Expanded Fashion (Space Shower Network, 2011), which received a great response, she introduces the work of artists who explore unique and contemporary approaches towards the concept of fashion.
This exhibition, which is based on Hayashi’s book, invites artists besides the ones she introduces, and who are representative for new tendencies in the fashion scene since 2010. The show reveals fashion as a cultural crossroad, bringing together the various genres of art, fashion and literature.
Reaching from Haute Couture over Prêt-à-porter to Street Wear, fashion itself, in coherence with the change of people’s lifestyle and concept of values, has successfully evolved and could be viewed as a sensitive mirror of our day and age. At the same time and also influenced by globalization, humans constantly produce new desires and fashion has evolved into an economic tool for consumerism. Hayashi did coverage on the Paris Fashion Week during the Nineties, however putting emphasis on artists and designers with a critical awareness for fashion in consumer industry. In her work she documents a creative activity which differs from conventional fashion design, which she observes and describes from a unique point of view.
Visitors will encounter a selection of works by artists who make use of fashion to cultivate the aesthetic senses in modest everyday life and to communicate a lifestyle and mindset to others. Further focus lies on activities carried out by fashionists who incorporate performance and workshops, as well as the works of photographers and visual artists involved with them.
At the venue new works by Takashi Homma, who executed fashion photography in a documentary style, are on display and a showcase by Kazunari Hattori Design gives insight into tendencies of independent publishing as Purple, here and there or Nieves. Works include the first film by novelist and director Miranda July, installations by Ryoko Aoki, Yurie Nagashima, Susan Cianciolo, COSMIC WONDER, BLESS / Takehito Koganezawa and Keisuke Kanda×Masashi Asada. Additionally a workshop held by FORM ON WORDS will offer participants an inspiring environment to make their own clothes.
Without showing draped mannequins and set apart from past fashion exhibitions, this show aims to trigger a rethinking the concept of “Fashion” and to explore alternative relationship between fashion and us.


Takashi Homma “HYSTERIC GLAMOUR 1997” 1997

1. Photography starting from cross boarders – Street, Fashion, Documentary

Takashi Homma

Showcase by Takashi Homma, who gave new impetus by capturing fashion in the style of documentary photography. He reconstructs the scene of 1990’s from a present perspective.

2. DIY Media – An experimental creative mind

With the spread of computers in the 1990’s, the possibilities of graphic design and independent publishing have immensely expanded and former media of mass communication tools have revolutionized. This section introduces independent publishing including Purple, here and there and Nieves in the space designed by graphic designer, Kazunari Hattori.

Miranda July “Atlanta”

3. Rethinking the Girlie Culture – Aspects of everyday life, initiative and different media of expression

Miranda July, Ryoko Aoki, Yurie Nagashima

The term “Girlie” originally represented a culture stream also relating to feminism, now often symbolized by the Riot Girls. However in Japan the movement was taken use of to promote consumerism in fashion and music. In this part of the exhibition the focus lays on the main characteristics of the girlie culture, “aspects of everyday life”, “initiative” and “diverse media for expression” to examine the aesthetics and passion of the term “Girlie” in more detail.

Photo by Takashi Homma

4. An encounter with a new power of imagination: The teardown of the fashion = design establishment

Susan Cianciolo, COSMIC WONDER, BLESS / Takehito Koganezawa

“The things that are produced here are not only to be worn, not only clothes. They are something we want to live with, a beauty we want to appreciate and enjoy for a long time. Something that we can’t receive from daily life, that makes our hearts throb, these kinds of clothes. No more art or fashion. Without separating the two, but realizing its insignificance. An encounter with a new power of imagination.” (excerpt from Expanding Fashion). These are Hayashi Nakako’s thoughts on COSMIC WONDER. A showcase of activities by artists who link drawings, performance and installation with fashion while breaking up the framework of fashion = design.

Kaoru Yokoo
Photo by Takashi Homma

5. A revision of values for the old and slow: A happy relation between humans and clothes

Kaoru Yokoo

In the dizzyingly fast changing world of fashion, the concept of old and slow are hardly ever affirmed or encouraged. A fabric that softly snuggles to your skin, old and outworn pajamas or a shirt you were wearing every day. What if these get eaten by bugs? Closely looking at these clothes that mean so much to some people, the artist carefully mends the traces of time, but with a surprising touch. Pieces that have been worn day after day and which are irreplaceable, here Kaoru Yokoo presents her repaired works, which she transformed into something truly unique.

Keisuke Kanda×Masashi Asada
“Higashiosaka Seisyunhakusyo”2013

6. Fashion as a life companion: Craft, experience and sharing emotion

Keisuke Kanda×Masashi Asada, Pascale Gatzen, FORM ON WORDS

“Fashion is where our zest for living shows. It presents our creativeness and sensibility and embodies the devoted act of explaining ourselves to other people”. These are Pascale Gatzen’s words, commenting on fashion. In this section the approaches of artists experimenting with a new way of communication between the giver and the receiver are highlighted.

▶Pascale Gatzen holds a workshop with guards in Art Tower Mito contemporary art gallery.
“Questioning the Consept of the Uniform”

Art Works

Susan Cianciolo drawing 2013 ©Susan Cianciolo

FORM ON WORDS“NEXT MARKET – Under the Jungle Gym”2012

BLESS “N°45 Soundperfume” 2011
Photo by Team Peter Stigter

Ryoko Aoki“roots”2012 © Ryoko Aoki
Photo by Kei Okano Courtesy of Take Ninagawa, Tokyo

Pascale Gatzen“Work Circles”2013

Yurie Nagashima Untitled 2013

Takehito Koganezawa
Performance at Tango, Kyoto 2014



You reach out – right now – for something : Questioning the Concept of Fashion


Contemporary Art Gallery




9:30-18:00 (no admittance after 17:30)


On Mondays


800yen/600yen for advance booking and group of more than 20 people

Organized by

Mito Arts Foundation

Grant from

The Asahi Shimbun Foundation

Supported from

Asahi Breweries, Ltd., BUGHAUS, Diptrics Inc., Epson Sales Japan Corporation,
imagine artplanning, NOGUCHI SOUBI CO.,Ltd., Photographer’s Laboratory

Curated by

Mizuki Takahashi (Senior Curator, Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito)

Original concept

Nakako Hayashi

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High School Students Weeks 2014

March 9 (Sun.), 2014, to April 6 (Sun.), 2014

High School Students Weeks 2013

Venue Workshop room, Contemporary Art Gallery, Art Tower Mito

Our annual free admission month to high scholers and others in the same age group. During the month, the café opens in the gallery. Visitors are welcome to use the café and lounge run mostly by high school and college students. A variety of different lecturers will hold workshops related to the ongoing exhibition.


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