Toru Kamei whose work depict references of nature and mythology, often offer a surrealist take on the Dutch inspired genre of Vanitas painting, takes centrestage in Dior Homme’s spring/summer collection. The traditional method of still life painting was first established in medieval Europe and is said to represent “allegories of the emptiness of earthly life.” Vanitas paintings typically feature skulls that serve as a metaphor for the certainty of death as well as clocks that signify a limited amount of time, and rotting fruits placed with a variety of still lifes that represent affluence and luxury.
Kamei’s work similarly ponders on issues to do with the fragility of life and as well as the imminence of mortality but through his own interpretation.
“I borrow figures that have form in an effort to privately and symbolically express the world of the subconscious, the formless sensations, feelings and emotions that constitute the state of the mind and sprit,” is how the artist describes his work, adding they are, “an escape from reality, an accumulated disconnection to reality.”
Due to his provocative approach, Kamei, a graduate from Nihon University College, has developed a cult following among art enthusiasts. He has exhibited his work at the Fukushima Biennale and the 5th Busan Biennale as well as at several other distinguished galleries include Gallery Naruyama and Gallery Gyokuei.
For Dior Homme’s summer 2017 collection, Kamei’s paintings are translated into dark floral patchwork seen on jackets and pants that contrasts the classicism typically associated with the label. The arcane floral paintings also appear as patched botanical prints on accessories as well as souvenir pins, worn spectacularly well by Boy George in the campaign.
“I am delighted that Kris Van Assche was touched by my creation and that his visionary deep down was stimulated. I hope that this creative interaction would produce an outcome that is innovative for the forthcoming years.”