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Video: Japanese Artist Creates Miniature World From a Kaleidoscope of Kimonos

Detailed miniature landscapes made from towels, toothbrushes, used clothing, and other found and recycled materials are a specialty of Japanese contemporary artist Takahiro Iwasaki, whose newly commissioned artwork Out of Disorder (Folding Scenery), 2015, is now on view at Asia Society Museum. The exhibition is part of the Museum’s ongoing In Focus series, which invites contemporary artists to create new work often in conversation with objects selected from the Museum’s permanent collection of traditional Asian art.

For his collaboration, Iwasaki created a colorful new world from 120 vintage kimonos. Each sculptural element corresponds to a specific architectural structure found in Japan’s landscape and has been crafted using individual threads from the specific kimono it sits upon.

His inspiration? A pair of 17th-century Japanese screens from the Edo period, titled Flowers and Grasses of the Four Seasons, that are a part of the Asia Society Museum's permanent collection.

"The screens feature nameless field grasses depicted with such grace, elegance, and care that it makes one honor even these most mundane of plants," Iwasaki said in an interview with Michelle Yun, senior curator of modern and contemporary art at Asia Society.

"Just as the artist of the screens did, I would like to revisit a commonplace everyday scene from today’s Japan, and just as the screens embody a smooth flow from one season to the next, I hope to capture, in my work, the graceful transition of a Japanese landscape from the past to the present."

The video above shows Iwasaki at work creating the installation in Asia Society Museum's Aron Gallery. Takahiro Iwasaki: In Focus is on view through April 26, 2015.


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