KIMONO! The Artistry of Itchiku Kubota
Curated by Jacqueline Marx Atkins and
organized by the International Chodiev Foundation.
Kimono! is a spectacular exhibition of 48 pictorial kimono, brilliantly designed by Itchiku Kubota (Japanese, 1917-2003), an artist of international renown. Kimono—once customary Japanese dress—are here transformed into stunning works of art that are a contemporary interpretation of a rich artistic and cultural tradition. MWPAI is the only United States venue for this exceptional exhibition, which is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.
Kimono! illuminates the wide-ranging imagination of Kubota, who began his textile training at age 14. At 20, he saw for the first time a tiny fragment of tsujigahana, a 16th-century Japanese textile decorative technique that incorporated resist-dyeing, brush painting, applied metallic leaf, and embroidery. The impact was such that Kubota decided to dedicate his life to recreating this lost art.
Kubota’s hand-crafted kimono are exquisite masterpieces. Many are conceived in series and installed together to create panoramic landscapes in fabric that depict vistas such as Mount Fuji. Included in the exhibitions are works from Kubota’s magnificent series, Symphony of Light, that depict, in his words, the “grandeur of the universe.” The unique body of work includes two sets of kimono, one reflecting the four seasons and the second the artist’s celestial vision of the universe.
The Museum of Art will offer an immersive experience for visitors in summer 2018, with two parallel exhibitions to accompany Kimono! The first, Robes of Many Colors: Textile Design in Japanese Woodblock Prints, includes 50 works from the Museum’s collection that highlight kimono in context of daily life in Japan. The second show, Global Splendor, will be presented in the Edward W. Root Sculpture Court and will feature ceremonial and special-event clothing from cultures represented in this region.