Coinciding with the Yohji Yamamoto retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum
, The Wapping Project Bankside
shows the photographs, until May 14, 2011, of seven international photographers who can be said to have first found their individual voices as part of the thrilling burst of creativity engendered by Yamamotos arrival in Europe 30 years ago.
The exhibition of photographs makes concrete the breadth of some of Yamamotos key collaborators achieved through his career.
Now reading like a roll call of the worlds finest, most imaginative and established fashion photographers, the list includes Nick Knight, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, Sarah Moon, Paolo Roversi, and Max Vadukul.
Central to this mix is Yamamotos close associate, Art Director Marc Ascoli. Ascolis introduction of extremely young, promising, hot British photographers, then mostly in their early twenties, was crucial to the ground breaking results, and his initiative was followed by M/M(Paris) who collaborated with Yohji Yamamoto for 5 creative years.
Titled Yohjis Women, the exhibition expresses both Yamamotos love of strong women, who do not fit the conventional, magazine archetypes but rather were independent exciting women who could wear his complex clothes with authority and a grown up, challenging sexuality; the kind of women who knew their own minds, and whose serious beauty found its expression in the work of Yamamoto. Such women have an aura of secrecy or privacy which bubbles up subliminally and which gives the sensual charge and enigmatic edge which is the essence of Yamamotos work. The cut and movement of a dress or coat, the sexually androgynous feel of the clothes mask what is obvious but suggest all that may be revealed.
Springing from an eastern aesthetic, thoughts turn to the kimono, its folds and pleats wrappings and windings and the process and time it takes to unveil, reveal and disclose. Yohjis women embody this timed disclosure and these photographers, each in their independent ways, each with his or her own potent voice, expressed it. The photographs capture the vigour, wit and exuberance of Yamamotos work as well as a remarkable moment in time in which clothes, designer, icon, place and photographer spoke with one voice...
Yohjis Women, like his clothes, have a deep, elusive quality, which is delicate, warm, fragile and grounded clearly in architecture, form and structure. They are women who hold their secrets close, just as Yohjis clothes do.