Wedding Kimono / 結婚式の着物

Wedding Kimono / 結婚式の着物

This kimono was hand sewn of old damask fabrics, previously used as tablecloths on the excursion ship Hjälmaren, which sailed along the canal of the same name. The textiles were hand-woven specifically for the luxury ship, probably in the early 19th century. I bought a basketful of them in an auction, and when I unpacked them I thought that these beautiful, thick fabrics resembled damask silks used for bridal garments in Shinto ceremonies. The idea to use cutlery as decoration occurred to me when I first encountered the Japanese art of tea: I wondered what would happen if we brought our own cutlery to the table.

The WEDDING KI-MONO also reflects the roles in relation to, and from, another person and his or her impact on our life, as well as the ultimate separation inherent to each relationship. This is why I used cutlery connected with significant people and events in my life.

To make the decorative print and other ‘embellishments of the kimono’, I used original knives and forks from the wedding gift received by my parents.

Over-interpretation

Tablecloths – food – consumption – wedding – parents – close persons

Tablecloths – cutlery – food

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

Ki-mono Reconstruction / 着物の復興

Ki-mono Reconstruction / 着物の復興

I approach a garment from an artist’s point of view rather than a designer’s point of view.

Fashion design is about creating something for one season and people are supposed to wear it. I’ve never been interested in that. I like to use textiles and clothes rather as a canvas to paint with my feelings on to it. I’m not interested in pockets, zips, I don’t care whether or not someone will manage to fit into it. 

[Joanna Bodzek]

I keep thinking about the woman’s role. About what happens to these women, why they wear clothes which as so tight that they can hardly move in them. But I see little difference between our stilettos and walking in a kimono.

It started as an attempt to re-design something so Japanese and untouched as a kimono-garment, Westernism to Japanism...

Shortly it become an exploration of the influence of tradition on women's role and position in society.  A cross-cultural discussion on ideals of beauty and femininity ... a space for both the cultures to meet.

Through the layers of fabrics one can see the past that becomes part of the future. Like the many layers of kimono, one needs to open one after another to see the image, to see the kimono, to see the woman. 

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Exhibition KIMONO UN-PERFECT

Exhibition KIMONO UN-PERFECT

Venue: Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Manggha, Krakow, Poland. June - September 2015  

KIMONO UN-PERFECT is an interactive installation of works by Joanna Bodzek, a Polish born artist and designer living and working in Sweden. KIMONO UN-PERFECT will be a culmination of all Bodzek’s work created for Kimono Reconstruction (2009-15), shown in its entirety.  Bodzek places this work at the intersection of both figurative and conceptual art, using the language of her own European culture to facilitate her examination of the kimono via social perspective, fairy tales and works of art. Kimono-like garments, video work and photography are used to look at the symbolism of this traditional Japanese dress, which is nowadays deemed difficult to interpret, even for those living within the culture from which it came.

Bodzek’s kimonos from her Kimono Reconstruction Project, are often made from recycled materials like tea towels, tablecloths and other handmade textiles which carry their own narratives corresponding to the stereotyped female role. Her fascination with Japanese culture began with studying the work of Rey Kawakubo during her time at Central Saint Martins, and deepened later while collaborating with the Butoh artists and performers.

Artist Statement:

“Within the Kimono Reconstruction, I explore the border between both the familiar and unfamiliar in relation to tradition and ideals of beauty; things we do not recognise through the themes of identity and diversity. I am linking the cultures of West and East through this work, exploring my obsession and fascination with the mystery of the Geisha, specifically her white makeup and her ultimately mesmerising beauty.

While considering the name of the exhibition I came across Shakespeare Sonnet 23,

conveying perfectly the many layers of this project.

"As an unperfect actor on the stage,

Who with his fear is put besides his part,

Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,

Whose strength's abundance weakens

 

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

Doily Kimono. Tea Ceremony / 茶会

Doily Kimono. Tea Ceremony / 茶会

I hope this kimono will make you reflect on the value of women’s handicraft.

It was made of knitted cotton doilies, 2 zlotys each. The garment is made of some seventy snowflake-shaped doilies and is worth thousands of hours of women’s work. It takes twenty hours to knit one doily, which means 1400 hours in total, plus 100 hours to put the ‘snowflakes’ together – to create a kimono.

I acquired the doilies on various occasions in Krakow, Stockholm and London. Out of nearly three hundred I could only use some seventy–eighty, which best fitted together. If the time spent were to be charged at an artisan’s hourly rate, the cost of the kimono would be some 64,000 zlotys (c. 16,000 euros), which is how much traditional Japanese garments actually cost.

Over-interpretation
The Japanese masters of traditional crafts begin their training as small children, under their parents’ supervision. They do not switch to another discipline with every passing year; they spend years accumulating experience in their specific speciality. Once they are mature, experienced artisans, their works are perfect in form and well thought out in content. The value of these works is in hundreds of hours of persistent work.

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

photo from exhibition KIMONO UN_Perfect Manggha Museum / Krakow

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Aesthetical appreciation of poverty

Aesthetical appreciation of poverty

Daisetz T. Suzuki, who was one of Japan's foremost English-speaking authorities on Zen Buddhism and one of the first scholars to interpret Japanese culture for Westerners, described wabi-sabi as "an active aesthetical appreciation of poverty." He was referring to poverty not as we in the West interpret (and fear) it but in the more romantic sense of removing the huge weight of material concerns from our lives. "Wabi is to be satisfied with a little hut, a room of two or three tatami mats, like the log cabin of Thoreau," he wrote, "and with a dish of vegetables picked in the neighboring fields, and perhaps to be listening to the pattering of a gentle spring rainfall."

KI-mono Experience

Exhibition at the Museum of East Asia Stockholm, Sweden 2011.
Ki-mono means a thing to wear, to carry on yourself... What do you carry on? What do you carry with you? Between rooms, empty space, a new room beyond East and West, kitchen reflections, ideals and femininity ... a space for both the cultures to meet.

KI-MONO becomes here a canvas on which to paint freely and unrestricted, to combine western and eastern cultural aspects, visual traditions, roots, preferences and ideals of beauty.

text Joanna Bodzek and Petra C E Holmberg

The Kimono Nature performance.

The Kimono Nature performance.

Performance by Kimono Reconstruction with Irina Anufrieva

Performed at The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquties beautifully located on Skeppsholmen in the middle of Stockholm

About the art of finding beauty in nature's inperfect, to accept the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. A tribute to cracks, cracks and passage of time, to rust and frayed edges.

Images Flickr

Kimono Reconstruction with Irina Anufrieva /performance/
& Eva Karlsson

movment instalation Red Dragonfly & Kimono Nature

movment instalation Red Dragonfly & Kimono Nature

O the dragonfly,
she has dyed herself with the
Color of Autumn.

Dragonfly embodies a stripping away of all the beliefs that say we cannot do this or that, achieve a dream or goal, it is to remind us that anything is possible when we really get the understanding that we are part of Spirit and as such we have the power to manifest anything that we desire. 
Dragonfly is the keeper of dreams, the knower within that sees all of our true potential and ability to achieve dreams and goals.

Images Flickr

Kimono Reconstruction & Irina Anufrieva,
Music: Katt Hernandez

Performed at Östasiatiska, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden

Knitted Kimono / ニットきもの / story of Hasse Hime

Knitted Kimono / ニットきもの / story of Hasse Hime

This is one of my favourite kimono in the Ki-mono ReConstruction project. This kimono comprises my collected memories. It was knitted in wool and silk accumulated over the years of work in fashion design. Some of the yarn was handmade in Sri Lanka using an old bicycle wheel (in lieu of a proper spinning wheel)…

In such wilderness, you can feel a certain mood of insanity… and a lot of wildness… This story continues to develop.

Over-interpretation
The kimono made of fragments of yarn coming from various places and times gathers a lifetime’s worth of memories. Perhaps they could be compiled to produce pleasant, harmonious images but life is not always nice and easy.

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

On the photo: Butoh dancer Irina Anufrieva

 Kimono, memories from Kyoto

Kimono, memories from Kyoto

the monk Kimono

the monk Kimono

Mystical photo essay.

A detail from putting on a and tying a monk kimono, photographed by me during a photo session at the Kongōbu-ji Temple. Kongōbu-ji is the ecclesiastical head temple of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism, located on Mount Kōya, Wakayama prefecture, Japan. Its name means Temple of the Diamond Mountain...

During a travel to Japan in March 2014
 

 

the book

the book

Really nice little book about work during first two years of the Kimono Reconstruction Project is published on Issuu.

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Chiyono / ちよの

Chiyono / ちよの

The kimono sewn of fifty Polish and Swedish dish-cloths brings to mind a kitchen, a housewife moving around it, serving fragrant hot meals to us, gathered around a table. The cosy homely atmosphere is conveyed by the hand-hemmed edges and traces of use. The fifty old cloths… are handmade products that carry dreams and memories, hours spent on preparing the trousseau, embroidering initials on dish-cloths and bed linen.

We serve food on the table, the natural meeting place at home. The table is both inviting and disintegrating. The disintegration is part of a process that has a beauty of its own. The life between the bed and the table. Here we can undertake reflections on tradition and the family.

Who are we? Are we living our visions and dreams?

Kimono is the Japanese word for a ‘thing to wear’, ‘clothing’, i.e. garments worn on a daily basis, also for cleaning and tidying. The Polish and Swedish dish-cloths forming a Japanese woman’s garment are an unexpected combination. However, they complement each other, pointing to the traditional perception of the woman’s role in dissimilar cultures.

Over-interpretation
In Japan, it is customary to reuse fabrics: to alter old kimono into smaller ones, and sew bags or dolls from small pieces of cloth.

You can even find collections of fragments of precious fabric (e.g. theatre costumes) placed in albums or used to decorate screens.

The reuse of dish-cloths to create a garment potentially used in household chores invokes this custom. The matter and the idea are one.

 

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

 

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Tsunami / 津波

Tsunami / 津波

Late in the evening on 10 March 2011, I was working on dyeing silk fabric. Several two-metre-long breadths of silk were washed after the prints on them had been fixed. As it turned out, all the fabrics broke in washing, in a way that I had never seen before. In the small hours of 11 March 2011, the Japanese coast was hit by an earthquake and the resultant tsunami, tens of metres high, destroyed a number of cities, towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture.

I decided to use these silks for a kimono that would become a memento of the tsunami. The kimono got broken so many times in the process of making it that I resolved to leave it forever unfinished.

Here is how a former cultural attaché to Stockholm commented on this story when I told it to him: ‘This is in accord with the Japanese spirit: we strive for perfection while accepting the fact that it is unattainable. The tsunami nearly wiped out the town of Matsushima, whose beautiful sites had for centuries inspired poets, Matsuo Bashō among them. Hence the idea to make the video Matsushima.
Matsushima video was produced by Irina Anufrieva. 
an can be watched here

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

on the photo: Butoh dancer Irina Anufrieva

 Tailored Kimono

Tailored Kimono

The kimono is a work of fine tailoring craft, which is why I asked Anika Hed to sew this garment. In her work, she is guided by the idea that everyone deserves the best quality of service. Anika Hed sews tailored garments. Every year, Japanese Nobel laureates come to her to dress well in the Western style and women visit her to put on a kimono.

Over-interpretation
The material and pattern of this kimono bring to mind a tailored pinstriped suit. The distinct white seams along the edges of the fabric and in the lower part of the kimono are a decorative element evoking an association with the edging of lapels, cuffs and pockets. The metal parts sewn onto the eri collar occupy the place traditionally intended for a chain watch.

Traditional kimono were unstitched before washing and then white, pronouncedly visible baste was used to sew them back together. In northern Honshu, the white seams would even take on the form of decorative patterns covering large fragments of the fabric.

text Joanna Bodzek with Aleksandra Görlich

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Matsushima

Matsushima ah!
A-ah, Matsushima, ah!
Matsushima, ah!

For me Matsushima is an expression of love. I ask people of different origins to read the poem thinking of a place or a person that left an irreplaceable trace in their soul, perhaps similar to the one that Matsushima left in the heart of Basho. People are free to choose a place where they would like to read the poem and they are free in their expression.

Irina Anufrieva for Ki-Mono Reconstruction. 2011-2015.

Matsushima was the chosen home of Basho in the later years of his life. After his first visit to Matsushima in 1689, Basho wrote the Matsushima poem. It was written as an expression of joy and adoration of the indescribable beauty of Matsushima islands.

In March 2011 the Matsushima area was severely affected by the earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan.

 

This work is our tribute to Matsushima.

 

kimono pattern

kimono pattern

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