March 2012 (10)

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 29 Britt Salvesen

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


An exhibition visualizing the dialogue between two talents


── Tell us about your encounter with Mr. Penn's photographs.

Britt Salvesen (from hereon Salvesen):
I believe this was in 1987. I saw a retrospective exhibition of Penn's works that had started on a world tour from New York's MoMA while it was in London. Several years later, during the 90s, I worked at the Art Institute of Chicago when they received the archive of Penn's works. Here, I had the opportunity to view the retrospective organized by Colin Westerbeck in 1997.

── What do you think of Mr. Penn's photographs?

Salvesen: I think his pictures occupy a very important position in the history of photography. The medium of photography is used for a wide range of purposes - fashion, still-life pictures, literature, private works... He created his works across all of these genres, and elevated them to the level of art. I think his works carry an extremely important message for our era, because they focus on the craft of the object as well as the impact of the image.

── What are your thoughts on this exhibition?

Salvesen: Even by the standards of relationships between artists, the dialogue between these two was very unique. They influenced each other with the most subjective parts of their personalities, like two outstanding tennis players carefully observing and returning their opponent's shots, and pushing each other to greater achievements over time. This exhibition allowed me to tangibly experience their mutually respectful relationship.

── What have you learned from Penn's photographs?

Salvesen: I have never met Penn. However, as a young researcher, Penn taught me many things through his photographs. A cigarette butt or trash dropped on the street may suddenly turn into something beautiful - that, to me, was an amazing discovery.

── If you could own one of Penn's photographs, which would it be?

Salvesen: That's a tough one (laughs). Probably the symbolic "Harlequin Dress" from 1950. That photograph is so powerful that it's impossible to forget it once you saw it.

── Tell us about your recent work.

Salvesen: At LACMA, we are currently holding an exhibition on Ellsworth Kelly's prints and paintings. In the future, we have exhibitions scheduled on Sharon Lockhart in June 2012, on Robert Mapplethorpe (who was also greatly influenced by Irving Penn) in October 2012, and on Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa in the autumn of 2013.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Britt Salvesen

Curator and Department Head, Photography and Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA
Britt Salvesen joined LACMA in October 2009. Previously, she was director and chief curator at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP), University of Arizona. Prior to joining CCP, Salvesen was associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum (2002-04), and associate editor of scholarly publications at the Art Institute of Chicago (1994-2002). She received her MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art (1991) and her PhD from the University of Chicago (1997).
Among the exhibitions Salvesen has curated are Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work (2006); New Topographics (2009); Catherine Opie: Figure and Landscape (2010); and Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings (2012). Future projects include exhibitions of work by Sharon Lockhart, Katy Grannan and Charlie White, Robert Mapplethorpe, John Divola, and a major presentation of the Leonard and Marjorie Vernon Collection.



List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 28 Michael Crawford

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Unusual Collaboration Between the Two, Which Realized the Power of Art


── What was your impression of the exhibition? How was it seeing your own work actually moving in animation?

Micheal Crawford (from hereon Crawford):
I was truly moved. I have never seen such a wonderful exhibition. I have worked as a cartoonist for 30 years, but my work has always been in the form of still images on paper. For the first time, I saw my work moving on a large screen, and I am very excited. Pascal, who animated my work, is really amazing.

── Michael, you drew the original drawings for the animation piece in this exhibit. Please tell us about the production process.

Crawford: First, Midori Kitamura gave me a clear direction. She showed me the sketches and I understood very well the process of Issey and Mr. Penn's collaboration. For the next three months, I dedicated myself to drawing and worked alone. I then handed the finished drawings to Pascal, and after some time, he sent me a DVD. I was amazed when I first watched it. It felt like he had brought my sketches to life, and they were vibrantly moving. What was even more amazing was that we had never once worked in the same room.

── Mr. Penn and Issey san never met during their collaboration, either.

Crawford: Right. I think that is what was truly amazing about this exhibition. I think the interest lies in the fact that Mr. Penn and Issey didn't create the piece "together".

── What did you think of the projection exhibit?

Crawford: I watched it with my children who visited Japan with me yesterday, and all of us were moved. The images themselves were of course beautiful, but their size and the gaps between the sequences were stunning. Both Issey's clothes and Mr. Penn's photographs are "sculptures". For me, these pieces were not clothing but closer to sculptures.
I also do painting, so I really understand, but there are really very few opportunities for a collaboration like that between Mr. Penn and Issey in the art world. I felt Mr. Penn had strongly inspired by Issey's work and realized the simple and powerful strength of the art.

── In closing, please tell us about your recent work.

Crawford: I try to make my cartoons as simple and interesting as possible. I try to make my drawings for the New Yorker simple yet funny, so the point gets across in a few words. The more simple the work is, the better the work becomes, and that is what I want to achive.
I have been painting for 20 to 30 years now, and my themes change according to the times. When I focus on painting upon one theme seriously, it encourages me to challenge against a new theme. Now I'm working mainly on the theme of Amerian map. It is a map of the United States with a hint of irony, paintings that make people experience the familiar map of the United States differently.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Michael Crawford
Photo: Carolita Johnson

Michael Crawford

Cartoonist
Born in Oswego, New York, 1945. He graduated in 1969 from the University of Toronto, B.A. in English. Worked a number of teaching and construction jobs until he began selling illustrations and cartoons in the late 70s. Sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1981 and has been a regular contributor ever since. His work has also appeared in a number of other publications: The New York Times, New York Magazine, Spy, Paris Match, Harvard Magazine, The Atlantic, Forbes, The Enquirer, Gourmet et al. He is co-editor with Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker Book of Baseball Cartoons. His paintings have been exhibited in group shows in New York, Boston and Hudson, New York. He lives and works in New York City with fellow cartoonist, Carolita Johnson, whose cartoons appear regularly in The New Yorker.
http://www.michaelcrawford.org

Copyright © 2010 by Michael Crawford

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 27 Sharon Sadako Takeda

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Two geniuses constantly striving for new means of expression


── What do you think of Mr. Penn's photographs?

Sharon Takeda (from hereon Takeda):
I am not familiar with Penn's entire oeuvre; however, his photographs of Issey's clothing designs never cease to amaze me. The way Penn used his own artistry to masterfully capture the essence of Issey's creative and poetic genius is astonishing. The resultant photographs are timeless works of art.

── What are your thoughts on this exhibition?

Takeda: It was wonderful to see the creative outcome of two great talents from different media responding to each other's work. The large projections of Penn's photographs of Issey's creations were exciting to behold! The installation was visually dynamic. I especially appreciated how the images were thoughtfully grouped together and masterfully timed to reveal and dissolve at a different pace throughout the program.

── Is there anything you have learned from Penn's works?

Takeda: Seeing Penn's portraits and still-life photographs next to his photographs of Issey's clothing designs challenges us to search for Penn's inner creative voice. The Penn/Miyake photographs made me think about the importance of constantly taking on new challenges and the joy of finding inspiration from the work of an artist you admire.

── If you could own one of Penn's photographs, which would it be?

Takeda: It is difficult to single out just one Penn photograph but, if I had to choose just one, I would probably pick one of his photographs of Lisa Fonssagrives taken for Vogue. Not only are they beautiful and elegant examples of fashion photography but they appear to be poignant love letters to the woman he would eventually marry.

── Tell us about your recent work.

Takeda: I recently curated the North American debut of "Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection," an installation of nine one-of-a-kind gowns designed by acclaimed American designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte. My exhibition "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915" will be opening in Berlin and Paris this year. And I am currently working on "Reigning Men: From the Macaroni to the Metrosexual", a comprehensive exhibition of 18th to the present-day men's fashion scheduled to open in 2014.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Sharon Sadako Takeda

Senior Curator and Department Head, Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA
Major exhibitions at LACMA include "When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan", "Miracles and Mischief: Noh and Kyōgen Theater in Japan", "Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art", and "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915". The Costume Society of America has honored Sharon with the Richard Martin Award for Excellence in the Exhibition of Costume and two Millia Davenport Publication Awards. She was a visiting professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA in 2002-03 and currently serves on the Directing Council of the Centre International d'Etude des Textiles Anciens, an organization for professional textile historians based in Lyon, France.

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail
"Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 26 Tamotsu Yagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Illuminating the moment over forced fabrication


── How did you discover Irving Penn's photos?

Tamotsu Yagi (from hereon Yagi):
I've seen Penn's photos often in magazines, but the first time I took a really good look at one was when I saw a portrait of Miles Davis on the cover of his album, "TUTU" in 1986.  I received it from Ms. Eiko Ishioka who was in charge of the art direction of that album. 

── What are your thoughts on Penn's photos?

Yagi: Penn's photos are an expression of pure natural beauty.

── Please tell us about a memorable episode if any.

Yagi: In 1991, after I had left ESPRIT and was working as a freelance designer in San Francisco, I received a call from publisher, Nicholas Callaway.  The first work I received from him was to layout the Japanese edition of Irving Penn's photo collection, "PASSAGE."  After the book was completed and I was waiting for the sample to arrive, the printing house sent an entire set of proofs for the book packed on a wooden palette.  I was astounded by the triple-fold front-back proof I received before the book was completed. 

── Please tell us what you learned from Penn's photos or how they influenced you.

Yagi: Expressions are born through subtraction rather than addition.  
Don't be overly expressive. Instead, tell it straight as it is.

── Please tell us about your recent work.

Yagi: In November of 2011, a book about my design work, "THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi" was released by ADP.  I am also currently working on a signage program for the Pomona College, a liberal arts college near Los Angeles. 



Tamotsu Yagi

Art Director
Tamotsu Yagi was born in 1949 in Kobe, Japan.  He worked for a multidisciplinary design firm in Tokyo for eighteen years, and moved to California in 1984 when he was named Art Director for the San Francisco based clothing company Esprit.  Here, Yagi was in charge of all aspects of visual presentation and image design, from advertising and catalogues, to packaging, product identification and store graphics.  He soon created the iconic and internationally recognized "Esprit Graphic Look," which led the company to win the AIGA's (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Design Leadership Award in 1986.  In 1990, Yagi was chosen to be a member of the prestigious AGI (Alliance Graphique International), and was one of the youngest inductees in its history.  The following year he ventured out on his own to establish Tamotsu Yagi Design, an independent multidisciplinary studio based in San Francisco.  Within three years, Yagi received the Clio Award for the Tribù perfume bottle he designed for Benetton.  One year later, Yagi was honored by the induction of over 100 examples of his work into the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Select works from this collection were also featured in a special exhibit at the grand opening of the SF MoMA building in 1995.

THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi
"THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 25 Kazuko Sato

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Creation of dreams traveling between reality and invention


──How did you learn of Irving Penn's photos?

Kazuko Sato (from hereon Sato):
I would say that I learned of Penn's photos through Miyake-san's works rather than Irving Penn's photos alone. The visuals of those days, also introduced in this exhibition, had enormous impact on me. The scenery inside Miyake-san's mind collided with the scenery inside Penn's mind to create work of a different dimension.

──What do you specifically mean by that?

Sato: The viewers can see themselves in the visual and transform to their heart's desire. Those are pictures of a model wearing clothes but every one of them carries a story that transforms from one thing to another. I'm sure that the stories that viewers portray in their minds are all different, but I believe that each one of them is associated to that person's desire for transformation. That's what makes these photos interesting for the viewers. It's not every day that you come to an exhibition that fulfills this universal desire for transformation.

──That's a very interesting point of view. In some ways, it's a very feminine point of view.

Sato: You may be right (laugh.) Both Issey-san's clothes and Penn's photos go beyond genre and time, they travel beyond space and time. When great minds meet, the greatness doesn't just double; instead, it produces results that are squared or even cubed. And they both do it with such freedom. That's the amazing part.

──You're right. They create work without conversation.

Sato: Another thought after seeing their creation is their intricate balance of invention and reality. Design must contain an element of reality. But, people are not inspired if the design contains only reality. "Lie" would not be a good word to describe this, but there is a world of invention and this invented world is where people seek out their dreams. Miyake-san's clothes present us with an enormous dream but they can still be worn when returning to reality. And when you wear his clothes in the real world, they take you drifting back to that dream. Penn drew out the dream part of Issey-san's work to the greatest extent possible and transformed it into something completely new. I am utterly impressed by the skill with which he did this.

──Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

Sato: Late last year, a book titled, "Italia Bunka Jiten (Encyclopedia of Italian Culture)" was published in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Italy-Japan Association and Italy's 150th anniversary of national unity. I supervised and authored the section on "Creation"-(Design.) My involvement in this book made me acutely aware of the fact that the definition of "design" has not established itself in the context of history and culture, and that it is up to us to ensure that it will be done so adequately.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



k_sato.jpg

Kazuko Sato

Journalist
Graduate of Joshibi University of Art and Design, Department of Design. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera on scholarship from the Italian government while studying at the graduate school of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Resided in Milano from the early 60's to the 70's , and the 80's Member of the Italian Journalist Federation. Producer of various Italy-Japan cultural exhibitions. Author of "Alchemia" and "Toki wo Ikiru Italia Design." Guest professor of the Kanazawa College of Art. Guest professor of the Joshibi University of Art and Design. Originator of the "modern design theory."

"Italia Bunka Jiten (Encyclopedia of Italian Culture)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 24 Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Penn's photos with a touch of surrealism


──What were your thoughts on Irving Penn's photos?

Mitsumasa Fujitsuka (from hereon Fujitsuka):
I'm not very interested in photos taken by other photographers (laughing.) This is because, rather than creating photos as art, I take photos as a journalist. So, I had very little interest in looking at other people's photos as a piece of art. I learned about Irving Penn through Issey Miyake.

──You've known Issey-san for quite a while now.

Fujitsuka: I think it was in the late 1970's or 80's. At the time, I had absolutely no interest in fashion either. I was fine as long as I had my T-shirt and jeans (laughing.) I first met Issey-san when I went to photograph a show on assignment for a magazine called "Interior." While all the other cameramen took only photos of the models posing, I took photos of the entire space rather than just the clothes. After all, I thought that was the normal thing to do. Later on, Issey-san asked me to take photos of his Tokyo collection show.

When I take photos, I'm intrigued more by Issey-san's ideas than his clothes. He is not just a fashion designer. He is a scientist. Looking at his clothes reminds me of film structure and hydrodynamics and made me believe that he is even a learnt man of folklore and anatomy. The music and lighting of the show was also superb.

──Then how did you feel after seeing Penn's photos through Issey-san?

Fujitsuka: He was a surrealist. I saw his works in this exhibition and the book: lips smothered in chocolate, frog legs, and snails. I don't take pictures like this, but I enjoy looking at works of surrealism. It's that aesthetic sense that "beauty is filth and filth is beauty." It's the sense that filth is not the direct opposite of what is beautiful, and there is no such thing as a filthy color. It's quintessential surrealism. I also liked the Bedside Lamp taken in his later years.

──What were your thoughts after seeing the exhibition?

Fujitsuka: It was a very clever exhibition. Penn clipped the background to the extreme and concentrated on the photos. I felt the spirit of a surrealist who creates an abstract world from a perfectly white background. The projection on the giant screen was nice, but I also liked the humorous animation. Everything was in harmony and I felt director, Midori Kitamura's power that had supported Issey-san.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Fujitsuka: I created a book, "Yukankozo Book Senda Man 1000" which is a 1,000 page retrospective of 40 years of work by architect Man Senda. I've known Senda-san for many years now, and 95% of the photos in this book were taken by me. It is 70mm thick and weighs 2kg.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo: KAWABE Akinobu

Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

Photographer
Born 1939 in Shiba, Tokyo. Graduated from the Tokyo Photography College in 1961. Became a freelance photographer in 1965. Winner of the 1987 Japan Interior Designer's Association award. 1961-1965 photographed monthly magazine, "Japan Interior Design." 1982-2006, photographed cover of monthly magazine, "Shitsunai." 1986, "Kioku no Kenchiku: The Works of Kikou Mozuna" text: Kikou Mozuna. 1987 "Iji no Toshi Jutaku I/II" text: Hiroshi Nakahara. 1991 "Gendai no Shokunin" text: Osamu Ishiyama. 1993, "Yomibito Shirazu" text: Kikou Mozuna. 1995, "Kenchiku Refull" 10 volumes, text: Kengo Kuma. 2002, "Mijika na Technology" photo and text. 2004, "Fujimori Terunobu Tokusen Bijutsukan Zanmai" text: Terunobu Fujimori. 2007, "Kenchikuka Igarashi Tadashi" text: Minoru Ueda. 2008, "Ando Tadao no Kenchiku 3." 2009, "BRIDGE" text: Miyoko Ohno. 2009, "21-seiki no Kenchiku Damashii" text: Terunobu Fujimori. 2009, photo exhibition "Kuramata Shiro: to be free." 2011, "Mokuzo Kasetsu Jutaku-gun" text: Sei Haganuma. 2011, "SENDAMAN 1000" text: Man Senda.

"SENDAMAN 1000"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 23 Risaku Suzuki

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


The skills and elegance of a craftsman prevailing in every piece of work


──Please describe your image of Penn.

Risaku Suzuki (from hereon Suzuki):
I first encountered Penn while in high school. I found his portrait of Marlene Deitrich in a "LIFE" almanac at the library and a sketch I drew from that picture can be found in my high school anthology.

Later on, after entering photography school, I studied "Moments Preserved" with great conscience. Normally, a still life photo consists of still elements composed in a motif. However, Penn photographed moving objects. For example, he captures fruits with a bee. This makes you fall into the illusion that it is going to bee off any minute and onlookers are lured by this presence that calls forth motion. Penn's photos left a lasting memory through their power to build tension between inner and outer elements.
At the time, I thought of still life, portraits, and snapshots as different genre and I remember the refreshing surprise in the fact that Penn, who I'd assumed a photographer of still life photos, incorporated elements of a snapshot into his work.

──Did you practice with reference to Penn's photos?

Suzuki: Yes. I tried taking CAMEL cigarettes (laugh.) I also looked often at the "Worlds in a Small Room" collection. This photo collection provides data regarding the photographing and developing process and when you look at these, it gives you a good idea of the many different techniques he used like applying excessive exposure and compensating that by shortening the developing time. I experimented quite often too.

──Penn's prints are also well known for their superior technical skills.

Suzuki: One of Penn's representative works is a photo series of objects he picked off the street on his way from home to the studio like cigarette butts, a single glove, and other trifling objects, all of which he finished in beautiful prints using what's called platinum prints. This was like alchemy. I've heard that when Penn purchased equipment, he would prepare as many cameras of the same model as possible and try photographing with every one of them and choose the best one. At the time, cameras were built by hand, hence there were some individual differences. This is only a legend but I believe there was meticulous effort behind his technical skills.

──What do you think makes people attracted to Penn?

Suzuki: There is elegance no matter what the motif. For example, portraits can be divided roughly into those that portray the photographer's relationship with his model and those that turn the model into an object. But, while Penn's portraits handle its models as objects, there is a sense of wonder that goes beyond that. It's as if Penn's unique elegance fills the void between the photographer and his model. At times, Irving Penn is recognized only as a creator of simple and beautiful photographs but in times like today when photographers who can shoot any motif without seeming effort are appreciated, there is much to learn from his stance to approach each and every task with persistence.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Suzuki: Right now, I am involved in a project called the "Photo-Secession Tokyo" together with photographers Ryudai Takano, Taiji Matsue, critics Minoru Shimizu, and Shino Kuraishi. The book will be released soon so please take a look.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Risaku_Suzuki

Risaku Suzuki

Photographer
Born in 1963. Risaku Suzuki started his career and showing the works at many exhibitions across the globe. Recent solo-exhibitions; 'Kumano, Yuki, Sakura' (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2007), 'White' (Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo 2009), 'Yuki - Sakura' (Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, 2011). Recent photo collections; 'Mont Sainte Victoire' (Nazraeli Press, 2004), 'Kumano, Yuki, Sakura' (Tankosha, 2007), 'Atelier of Cezanne, Six by Six -set two' (Nazraeli Press, 2011). Public Collection; The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts(Houston), International Center of Photography (NY) etc. He teaches at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music associate professor.
http://www.risakusuzuki.com/



List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 22 Hiroshi Kashiwagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Penn's peaceful and tranquil eyes


── Penn takes various photos. Which of his photos interest you the most?

Hiroshi Kashiwagi (from hereon Kashiwagi):
One of Irving Penn's representative works is a series of cigarette butts. The cigarette butts strewn on streets and disregarded by passerbys are not themselves beautiful but Penn's composed eyes that gaze intently at them are.

I also love his portraits. That picture in this exhibition of Issey Miyake with what seems like a hood over his head is a nice picture. Issey-san's gaze is strong and Penn draws out this strength to the fullest. I also like his portrait series taken against a background of a sharp V-shaped wall. No matter how much the artist puts on their act, there is a sense of their "raw" self, wafting from within this limited space. Many say that Penn's photos portray humans like objects but these photos clearly convey that he does not "kill" his models.

── You've seen Miyake-san's works over the ages. What are your thoughts on the collaboration between the two?

Kashiwagi: Penn's photos draw out the concept of clothing as conceived by Issey-san and the possibilities within the beauty of their design through a new perspective. On top of that, when you look at his preliminary drawings for photo sittings, you learn that every detail is created through intention rather than coincidence.

During his student days, Issey-san was once put in charge of clothing for a Shiseido poster model. The poster design was created by Makoto Nakamura, a designer who defined an era of Shiseido's graphic design . I once heard from Mr. Nakamura that Issey-san was responsible for everything down to the makeup at the time. The poster photo was taken in a style that is completely different from Penn but Issey-san's clothing and the poses brought out the beauty of the model. I feel a similarity between Issey-san and Penn and that their meeting was by no means a coincidence.

── What are your thoughts on Ikko Tanaka design?

Kashiwagi: Ikko Tanaka was a brilliant graphic designer. He drew out the talents of both Issey Miyake and Irving Penn while preserving their image. He used the photos in a straightforward manner, inserted typography in a simple style, and brought forth intricate changes by arranging their spacing and lineup. Ikko Tanaka was an artist with a wealth of expressions. He was connected with Issey-san and Penn in that he saw the essential character of his themes and clients. I believe that work produced by these three artists will go beyond the borders of fashion and photos and leave its mark in history.

── Please tell us about your recent work.

Kashiwagi: Last year, I published a book titled, "Tantei Shosetsu no Shitsunai (Interiors of Detective Novels)" from Hakusuisha and am currently writing what can be called its sequel. It's about how rooms and spaces are handled inside diaries. I am planning on featuring Soseki Natsume, Torahiko Terada, Hyakken Uchida, Kafu Nagai and about two more authors. It should be out within the year so don't miss it.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Design Critic, Professor of Musashino Art University, Tokyo (Major is History of Modern Design.)
Born in Kobe in 1946. Graduated with the design degree from Musashino Art University. He has been attempting to spell out modern thought aesthetic through his research in design.
Visiting scholar of the Pratt Institute New York, 2005.
Selected Exhibitions :Curator for the exhibition Tanaka Ikko Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2003. Curator for the exhibition Fantaisies Cybernetiques, Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris, 2003-4.
Selected Publication: Modann dezain hihan(Critique of the modern design)Iwanami syoten,Tokyo,02."Shikiri"no Bunkaron (Cultural studies on "boundary")Kodanshsya,Tokyo,04. Tantei-syosetu no shitsunai (Interior of Detective Story)Hakusuisya,Tokyo,11. Dezain no Kyokasyo(The Textbook on Design)Kodansya,Tokyo,11.



List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 21 Yasuo Kobayashi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.


Clothing, photos, and letters: Thoughts on the moving body


──What was your impression after seeing this exhibition?

Yasuo Kobayashi (from hereon Kobayashi):
I once heard from Issey-san that his greatest influences were Isamu Noguchi and Irving Penn. At the time, I could relate well to how Isamu Noguchi was the roots of his formative design but I was puzzled when it came to Irving Penn. During this conversation, Issey-san spoke of the importance of showing his works to Penn, and that through Penn's perspective he was able to discover a new other self. By looking at his own work through the eyes of Penn's camera, he was able to meet a part of himself that he'd never seen before. I felt this as dialectic, that this involved the workings of the self-other. It made me want to dig deeper from the aspect of culture and representation.

Put differently, when looking at the collaboration between Penn and Issey-san in this exhibition, I had a flash of inspiration that Penn's world associates with letters, or should I say the world of calligraphy. In China, there is a saying that "calligraphy defines the person", and the "person" can also refer to the physical body. Clothing is a form but it is a form as in "body" form, an issue of the human body. Issey-san's designs constantly challenge new materials, but his roots are in the moving body. He neither hides the body nor decorates it. His concept is that the body is movement. I feel that his origins are in form as the "moving body." And, this seemed to connect with the ancient concept of letters. In this exhibition, I felt as if letters rising to their feet from the earth were trying to take flight.

──Please tell us about your talk event held on February 18?

Kobayashi: At the event, I was welcoming Takahiro Nakajima and Masaaki Tsuchiya, professors of Chinese philosophy to discuss Irving Penn's photos and Issey-san's clothing through "letters" and "calligraphy." We introduced several works of calligraphy to interpret Issey-san's clothes and Penn's photos through "letters" and "calligraphy" to see where this would take us. I suspect it allowed us to see the meeting of these two men, Issey-san and Penn on an anthropological scale.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)



Yasuo Kobayashi

Yasuo Kobayashi

Professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Kobayashi Yasuo (born 1950 in Tokyo) is Professor of Culture and Representation in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo, Komaba, and Director of the University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP). He graduated from the Department of French Studies at the University of Tokyo in 1974, and completed his doctorate in Semiotics under the direction of Claude Abastado at the University of Paris X Nanterre in 1981. He taught at the University of Electro-Communications in Chofu from 1982, and joined the faculty of the University of Tokyo, Komaba in 1986. From 2001 to 2002, Professor Kobayashi served as a Councilor at the University of Tokyo, and in 2002 he received the Ordre de Palme Academique Chevalier, from the Republic of France. From 2002 to the present, he has been Director of UTCP, both under the 21st-Century and Global COE Programs of the Ministry of Education (Monkasho).
Professor Kobayashi has published on a wide range of subjects. His publications include: Hyoushou no Kougaku [The Optics of Representation] (2003), Chi no Odysseia [The Odyssey of Savoir] (2009), and Rekishi no Deconstruction [The Deconstruction of History] (2010). He has also translated a number of French authors, including Derrida, Levinas, and Duras.



List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Article on Sankei Express on the first Sunday

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Japanese newspaper "Sankei Express on the first Sunday." It is an interview to Mark Holborn, who gave a lecture at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT.

ref. [Movie] Talk "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake"

Sankei Express on the first Sunday
Sankei Express on the first Sunday
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