Between 1996 and 1998 Issey Miyake invited 4 different artists as part of the “Guest Artist Series” to use clothes from his PLEATS PLEASE line as a canvas for their work. The artists who participated (numbered in the order of their projects) were Yasumasa Morimura, Nobuyoshi Araki, Tim Hawkinson and finally for Guest Artist Series No. 4 Cai Guo-Qiang.
The nature of Issey Miyake’s PLEATS PLEASE clothes is very undefined. Lay it flat, it takes a certain shape. Put in on and it potentially takes on an entirely different form. Depending on the wearer, the garments will look different and portray a different story. The Guest Artist Series delved deeper into this unique attribute and allowed 4 exceptional creators to pour their world into the garments, manifesting mesmerizing results.
In his short text on the Guest Artist Series, Yasuo Kobayashi beautifully wrote: “Typically, water acquiesces to the vessel. Water contours itself to the shape of the vessel. But what if that were reversed? What if the vessel acquiesced to the water? Water would follow the vessel, the vessel would accommodate the water, and the mischief would go on endlessly, never fully settling. Like the murmur of spring waters or a fall breeze tickling a pine treetop. There, your time flows freely."
The above two images were taken from Cai Guo-Qiang's website.
Cai Guo-Qiang, known for his artworks involving explosives among other things, chose to dance with his vessel in this manner. On October 5th 1998 (my 6th birthday by the way) he performed his work titled “Dragon Explosion on PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE” at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris. He sprinkled gunpowder in patterns across the clothes, that were laid out to look like a dragon. The results of the 2-second spectacle were then exhibited at the “Issey Miyake Making Things” show from October 13 1998 to February 28 1999 at the Fondation where they were showcased along with the other Guest Artist Series.
Watch a 10-minute video of the performance below.
Unreadable text at the bottom left:
"Opposite – (not in this blogpost) – : Staff removing the clothes after the fire has been extinguished at the performance.
Three photos above: Immediately following the same performance, staff display the signed dresses on the mannequins to show to the guests. Below are Cai and Issey Miyake."
The explosions were recreated as prints for the dresses and presented as part of the PLEATS PLEASE collection in New York, 1998.
All images, except for the two from Cai Guo-Qiang's website were scanned by me from the Pleats Please Issey Miyake book by TASCHEN, since I couldn’t find the pictures I wanted online. You can also find Yasuo Kobayashi’s full text in the book.
All images without credit are by Yasuaki Yoshinaga.