CHRISTIAN DADA ON LIFE, DEATH AND ARAKI
Writer Liucija AdOmaite speaks to CHRISTIAN DADA designer Masanori Morikawa about his ethos, his ideologies and his collaboration last season with legendary photographer NOBUYOSHI ARAKI.
“Death comes towards us all, you know, I don’t want to approach it myself, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s coming. You just have to laugh it off!” – Nobuyoshi Araki
Morikawa encountered the series of work entitled “Love On The Left Eye” when he was visiting Araki’s solo exhibition at Taka Ishii Gallery in 2014. Due to a retinal artery obstruction, Araki has been largely unable to see out of his right eye since 2013. As a result, Araki shot the photographs for “Love on the Left Eye” on slide film and coloured in the right side of the film with a black magic marker before any prints were made. The printed photographs then reflect Araki’s vision – the left side represents a clear image, while the right side is clouded. This series epitomises the Araki of today – a declaration that “photography is life”.
Masanori, the Christian Dada brand rejects traditional means of perfection, beauty and order. Where does this approach stem from?
Just like the art movement of Dadaism I find aesthetics and beauty in imperfections, and I like unconventional approaches.
Your dark silhouettes and rugged edges indicate a non-conformist attitude; I sense there is something more to this than aesthetic. Does Christian Dada have an innate nonconformist ideology?
Regards ideology, or something like PUNK spirit… I think in today’s society there is too much information circulating, and in terms of style and how life should be, the result is just imitation and fake. It is important to figure out who you are, stay yourself and to have individuality of your own.
Considering the cultural contrast between East and West, where do you find the balance between these two and reflect this in Christian Dada garments?
I feel like East is all about crafts, whereas West is about art. Presenting the two opposing styles separately has been done so many times and is played out. What I am aiming towards is: How can I present traditional Japanese craftsmanship/ East in CHRISTIAN DADA as a brand? In other words, insert Japanese traditional techniques in Western silhouettes to suggest a new and different approach.
It may appear that while Christian Dada is standing on the joint ground of both East and West, its primary sense of belonging is shifting between this dichotomy. Do you relate to this description?
My spirit is moving back and forth between this dichotomy like teenage spirit, so I would say I do. Not belonging to either one at the same time.
Do you enjoy the post-modern freedom from order or think that origins, roots and an authoritarian practice is useful?
I tend to seek freedom while appreciating my own personal roots and things I grew up with.
Your Christian Dada Fall/Winter 2016 collection was created in collaboration with photographer Mr. Nobuyoshi Araki, who lost vision in his right eye from a retinal artery obstruction. Your collection “Love On The Left Eye” is both about it and dedicated to it. It is said that (dis)ability enhances other unexpected senses. How do you perceive this?
No comment. No one could ever know what it’s like unless it happens to you. Plus the collection was made when I was inspired by his attitude towards death.
How is Araki’s “Love On The Left Eye” interpreted in Christian Dada’s “Love On The Left Eye”? Tell us about how you have chosen to reflect the story in the garment.
By not only printing Araki’s art work onto the garment but to merge his art with Japanese Embroidery and Jacquard techniques. Focusing on Araki’s iconic tie-up concept is also reflected throughout the collection.
In your press release you talked about the duality of life and death. This binary appears to inhabit your work and inspiration throughout. Clouded vision on the right and cleared on the left as seen through Araki’s eye and lens. Tradition and its Dadaistic destruction: East and West, heritage and monstrosity. What does this mean to you?
Just like the beauty of Pendulum, you would want something hard after having something soft for a while. Simple and filthy stuff will attract you after having too much fancy stuff. I find my own aesthetics in these dualisms, and when the two are merged.
Words: Liucija Adomaite