* Closed on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday
* Open on only last Sunday
13:00 – 19:00
“Are you interested in unearned income?”
It all started with this nonchalant question asked by Shiratori who was visiting Koike in Venice, Italy.
Kensuke Koike’s work, made purely by using a simple cut and paste method on vintage photographs, creates unexpected visual effects; nothing is added to or subtracted from the images. Fans of his work exist all over the world, and his followers on social media spread their inspirations through, for example, #singleimageprocessing. However, since each of his pieces are unique, the number of production is limited. In order to balance demand and supply, he decided to print t-shirts using his artworks.
Koike came up with a portrait t-shirt titled “Unknown”. The portrait used on this print was randomly selected from his photo archive consisting of over 50,000 images that he collected throughout Europe. The eyes, the nose and the mouth of the subject were extracted from the portrait. While pondering about the expansion of this project, Kawano joined the team.
Together with visual director Midori Kawano and media artist Kei Shiratori, visual artist Koike launched his project “POLE & TOTEM” in July of 2020 through its e-commerce site.
Anyone can purchase the work “Unknown” in the form of a t-shirt through its online store. In line with this first t-shirt design, limited “special edition” pieces and one-and-only “unique” pieces drop regularly to continue the portrait series. These items are readymade yet unique. Another benefit to this collection is the fact that it is seasonless, thus never wasting any resources.
When single motif is used repeatedly, it deepens its possibility — yet it blurs the importance of its existence. Perhaps this brings up the question of the added value in these items created by using common materials and an open-source process.
” Is it art or clothing?”
This exhibition will present not only the archive of their e-commerce website, but a number of unreleased works as well as AR works produced via mobile devices.
Needless to say, this exhibition has taken a completely different direction than initially planned due to the participants’ passion and determination in facing unknown materials.
After graduating with his undergraduate degree from the painting program at Accademia di belle arti di Venezia, Koike received his Master of Arts from Università Iuav di Venezia in visual arts. During his university years, working primarily as a video/film artist, Koike produced various works for multiple exhibitions and art fairs in Italy. Later, he shifted his focus to smaller works involving reworking ‘found’ photographs. He has collaborated with brands such as GUCCI, MONCLER, KENZO and various publications including The New York Times.
A graduate of Tama Art University in Tokyo with a degree in product design, Kawano works as an art director. Taking inspiration from the fantastical and supernatural in music and art, Kawano acts as a director on various projects involving graphic design, video, and product design. Her most recent projects include art direction for the cover of WWD, an exhibit at CALM & PUNK Gallery, art book [GASBOOK 34 MIDORI KAWANO], and designing the [RGB Light] ceiling lamp. She also works extensively with Laforet Harajuku; most recently her art directed the [PHENOMENON: RGB] exhibit at Laforet Museum Harajuku.
Shiratori conducted his research on art and technology at the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences in Gifu Prefecture after graduating from Tokyo University of Technology for his undergraduate degree. His augmented reality project [ARART] received the grand prize at the German AppArtAward at the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. Using the most advanced technology available, Shiratori works with various media such as music, film, digital applications, product development, and visual art. His works explore the relationship between human and technology.
Photo by Yutaro Tagawa