Alan Bilzerian is proud to present insight on the Nude:mm Spring/Summer 2019 collection by Masahiko Maruyama. Along with beautiful linen pieces, we feature ‘Inkman’ garments drawn by Toshio Okamoto from Atelier Yamanami for the Distortion 3 series produced by PR-y.
Exhibition Eye Eye Nose Mouth: Art, Disability, and Mental Illness in Nanjing, China and Shiga-ken, Japan at the Harvard University Asia Center explores the intersection of art, disability, and mental health by displaying original works on paper and sculptures created by self-taught artists from China and Japan. The Alan Bilzerian team was invited to see the international film premiere of ‘Jizo Libido’ produced by PR-y and directed by Yoshiaki Kasatani over the emphasis on the importance of eliminating societal labels of artistic representations; featuring the protagonists from Atelier Yamanami.
This film is beautifully straightforward yet unoriginal towards viewing the nature of artistic handicaps. Director Yoshiaki Kasatani realizes a strong stigma of judgment will exist regardless. People will continue to subconsciously think in this repetitive manner yet he chooses to rebel against it. An immediate aspect to the documentary's progression was the clear endearing embodiment of love Masato Yamashita (director of Atelier Yamanami) presents. It is happiness and warmth Yamashita reciprocates towards the talents of his artists. When you witness these scenes in the film, all you can supply is a wide smile of empathy. You see the challenge of simple questions Yamashita presents in which other types of personalities would struggle to answer. The residents of Atelier Yamanami exert creating everyday to simply show what they love to do.
Like avant-garde fashion, the general public will respond to contemporary art in the same way of recognizing commercial pressure as un-enjoyable to view and digest. Yukiko Koide (gallery owner and leading expert of Japanese self-taught art) explains her reasoning for showcasing these artists from Atelier Yamanami as,
“unreleased urges of purely art ... clear with their voice of intent”.
It becomes clear that Koide’s three reasons for selecting art; internal pressure, something peculiar, and sublimation, relates to the message of freedom within the artists’ work as Masahiko Maruyama (designer of Nude:mm) wants to agreeably emulate as well. He expresses that international recognition is deserving of the initial beauty of art. The question of, “What brand are you wearing?” gives insight on Kasatani’s project of destroying the label of the disabled. Instead, they create art that makes the consumer curious of the visual talents foremost. Maruyama talks about a repetitive theme of an outsider’s interest in all forms of art. His inspiration of Atelier Yamanami is re-imagined as broken pieces on the human figure. The great interest in a mobile presentation of this collaboration of garment design and fine arts brings Maruyama to continue his series of apparel as a collection. A string of inspirations are presented to a creative and the stories are re-told.
Within the film you see a spectrum of mental illness and disability associated with the idea of representation. However the same thread of emotion is relevant when the artist's best work was at their lowest of their capacity of feelings. Reality is sometimes non-existent but the identity of self-control is triggered. The value of art equals the visible freedom consumers are witnessing which is art therapy to the residents of the Atelier and a chance to be recognized in society. All that these artists see for their future is the ability to keep creating.
The film concluded with a live Q&A from the Japanese guest panel (including Yoshiaki Kasatani, Masato Yamashita, & Yukiko Koide) on their thoughts of the documentary experience. What led to its fruition? The primary reasoning was the film’s point of view on analyzing the comfortable environment which cultivated the warmth and freedom so clear in the artists and their work therefore blurring away harsh labels. Kasatini mentioned showcasing the film many times in Japan but for the first international premiere, at Harvard University, he mentioned his interest in the response of laughter it brought to the American audience. Much like the barriers he had to face with the handicap of communication with the artists, Kasatani finds the English and Japanese barrier overlooked with an expression of happiness.
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