Book corner #8: Tom Wesslmann - Kenzine, the Kenzo official blog

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The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week he chosed the autobiography of Mary Quant, the well known British fashion designer.

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'Images are fantastic of course, but if you are as passionate about fashion as I am, it would be a pity and even unforgivable to give up on texts. Especially if they are historical, mythical and cheerful. London, 1955: Mary Quant already runs her own store, Bazaar on King’s Road, a kind of concept store predating the idea itself. Then came the mini-skirts, in the midst of the energy of swinging London. Quant by Quant is a 200-page book adorned with pictures. It is also an autobiography which tells the story of a particular period in fashion history, told from the point of view of someone who was there at the time.  Now let’s be clear, if you have to read it, it’s got to be in English and in its original edition. What’s convenient is that you don’t have to spend hours on the Internet, we dug it up for you….'

'Quant by Quant', 1966, 200 p. Ed. Cassell.
KENZO- 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week he chosed the catalogue of German photographer Franz Christian Gundlach.

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'If I was asked to associate a city with the word “fashion,” I could say Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, but not Berlin, at least not spontaneously. Same for the word “glamour.” But I might be wrong. That’s what this catalog tends to prove anyway. It is an exhibition catalog devoted to the photographer Franz Christian Gundlach, who recorded almost 40 years of fashion on roll, mostly for Brigitte magazine. Gundlach has a sense of framing and composition mixing the femininity of lines with the geometry of buildings and cities and he shares with us a definition of chic and glamour that is unique to him and which is delightful to look at. Black and white is king, which elicits purer forms. But Gundlach also shoots portraits, he is a travel and a socialite photographer, which gives us a pretty good idea of the open-mindedness of the time.'  

F.C. Gundlach, catalogue, 2011, 304 p. Ed. Steidl.
KENZO - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week he chosed the first book of Deborah Turbeville: 'Wallflower'.

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'The greatest fashion photographers are not, first and foremost, fashion photographers; that is what makes our research about them interesting and without certainty. Deborah Tuberville had to be ordained by Avedon before she could shoot numerous series for Vogue. What’s most striking in Turbeville’s pictures is that models do not seem to be concerned about the shooting; we become thus the voyeurs of a moment we would normally be estranged from. The dull light, the protagonists sometimes almost out of focus, the pictorial quality of the grain build an illusion, a fiction that invites us to think about what comes before and after the actual picture. The pictures are strange, sometimes a bit ominous despite the softness of the faces. But in Wallflower, her first book, Turbeville delivers contact sheets, where pictures are framed by tape – a lesson in photography.'

'Wallflower', Deborah Turbeville, 1978, 128 p. Ed. Congreve.
KENZO - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week he chosed the eponymous book from the japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

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'You have probably already experienced this before : in the realm of art, minimalism is what allows you to gain access to other dimensions such as the infinite, space, the cosmos… And it’s all the more striking when the artist turns a minimalist form into his or her motto, as Yayoi Kusama did with dots. It’s an obsession that she multiplies and that comes in all colors, shapes, volumes or patterns, and that she links to a metaphor of life, each dot symbolizing a life. But it becomes very interesting when she adds mirrors to her compositions, or when her dots become mirrors themselves, creating compositions or color dots in the night. Kusama’s works then swing into 3D universes, almost surreal, whilst they have never so perfectly embodied the infiniteness they stand for. I could also have discussed the importance of the body and sexuality in her works, but that will be for another time…'
 

'Yayoi Kusama', 2012, 304 p. Ed. Rizzoli.
KENZO - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.
 

 

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week he chosed "Blinking and Flapping".

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"Right, you can always choose to go faster, and that’s intoxicating. You can also decide to never do less than three things at the same time, and that is also exhilarating, as if you lived more. You can also multiply the moments during the day that you are connected to virtual reality, through games or social networks. None of these seem to be Yasuhiro Suzuki’s guilty pleasures, who prefers to focus on cracks of times, on what can happen when you blink. He thus imagined fifty spreads or moments that he represented through pictures of drawings that are micro realities that we usually do not pay attention to, whereas we should. Once put together, water, light, dried leaves are the ingredients of this ephemeral poetry whose effect only lasts an instant, like a soap bubble, in that we can’t really say whether it is real or virtual." 

"Blinking and Flapping" – Yasihuro Suzuki, 2011, 320 p. Ed. Seigensha Art Publisihing.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week he chosed "Avedon Women" from the famous fashion photographer Richard Avedon.

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"I spend so much time checking pictures on Instagram or Twitter that I forget the pleasure I feel when I handle a beautiful book. The book "Avedon Women" is like a ceremonial: a presentation box that reveals a series of unbounded pages, with portraits of women and monochrome pieces of paper that give a rhythm to the succession of blacks and whites. A foreword written by Joan Julit Buck, a former editor at Vogue, accompanies this voyage into feminine country. Of course the powerful images by Avedon bring all the beauty to the adventure. But especially for those of us who closely watch each season how women are represented by the fashion universe, this collection of images by Avedon is like a lesson, as he knows exactly how to capture the woman behind the model, and the universal behind the particular. From the studio to the streets, from the princess to the worker, Avedon produces time in his portraits, so that we can spend time looking at them." 

"Avedon Women", 2013, 200 p. Ed. Rizzoli.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he chosed 'Souvenirs Improbables' from Sarah Moon.

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'I always thought that the signature of great photographers showed through their commissioned work. This book of Sarah Moon is a collector’s item: she was commissioned to turn all kinds of things into images – magazine pages, invitations, catalogs or calendars. There is always a strange atmosphere emanating from Sarah Moon’s pictures: subjects are plunged into a sweet warm light that makes everything vaporous, so that we no longer know whether the protagonists are real or have escaped from a dream. The references go from paintings using the sfumato technique to early 20th century photography, playing with sepia and movement. Sarah Moon, who had been a model before becoming the muse of Robert Delpire, a graphic designer and a publisher, honors her commissions perfectly, without ever getting out of the frame…' 

Sarah Moon – 'Souvenirs Improbables',1981, 96 p. Ed. Delpire.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The Book Corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he picked 'The Tender Room' of the Swiss visual artist Elisabeth Charlotte Rist, best-known under the name Pipilotti Rist.

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'I selected this book because I think it is attempting the impossible, it is quite a preposterous project. The Tender Room is the catalog of an exhibition, in which Pipilotti Rist presented videos, sounds and installations. The project behind the exhibition was to explore the sensuality of the woman’s body using videos, thus presenting a mix of things which were organic and mechanical. The color filter that the artist used everywhere in the museum helped create a strange atmosphere which resonated perfectly with the images, made of close ups of limbs and other parts of the body, of image superimpositions and red light baths… Everything, from the red velvet cover of the book to the warm hue of the pages, helps rendering this atmosphere on paper - which is in itself quite a feat - and makes this catalog a true immersion into the exhibition….'

'The Tender Room' – Pipilotti Rist, 2011, 72 p. Ed. Wexner Center for the Arts.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he chosed 'The Invisibles', a moving book of vintage photographs.

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'What’s more familiar than a souvenir photograph? A picnic, a ball or a stroll… we have all seen dozens of them, and even if the heroes in the pictures are unknown to us, the situations look familiar and we can relate to them. Well, I am writing this for those who are not « digital native » and know about photographs on paper. Sebastien Lifshitz’s book plays with this familiarity, but there’s something, an element, disrupting our nostalgia: are the couples brothers? Friends? Lovers? Page after page, it starts dawning upon us that these are gay couples, in daily or festive situations, sometimes transvestites, who fix on paper what  society did not want to see in the 50s or 60s. Amateur photographs, found in fleamarkets here or there, with the same leitmotiv: happy together. S├ębastien Lifshitz is also a director and he made a documentary out of this corpus, tracking down some of the protagonists who then told their story.'

'The Invisibles' –  S├ębastien Lifshitz ,2013, 144 p. Ed. Rizzoli.

Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.

 

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The book corner section highlights the most original aspects of this season's themes and culture, through works selected from our KENZO boutiques and reviewed by Angelo Cirimele. This week, he chosed the exhibition catalog of one of the most emblematic figure of pop art: Tom Wesselmann.

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Tom Wesselmann may not be the most well-known Pop Art artist, but his work encapsulates what the U.S. is all about: a certain energy, consumer products, gaudy colors. Known for his illustrations, the artist also stepped outside the medium by mixing objects and painting, daily life and intimacy. I like the freedom with which Tom Wesselmann revisits art history and makes it his own; reinterpreting it by cutting it into pieces and playing with it like a child, or so it seems. His images are highly sensual and he knows how to capture feminine glamour, like this red mouth exhaling smoke. In Wesselman’s art, everything is fake and shiny, even when he adds a manufactured object to his composition. The artist interrogates the essence of an image and also of our our gaze, when presented with many desirable objects. This luxurious book is an exhibition catalog and includes many critical essays as well as artists’ views on this singular work. 

'Tom Wesselmann',2013, 200 p. Ed. Prestel.
Kenzo - 60, rue de Rennes, Paris.