silver leaf kimono
56” x 70” silver leaf, tulle
Another modern art piece by Miya Ando, this kimono is made of tulle (a soft, gauzy netting material that can be made of silk, rayon, polyester etc.) and silver leaf. If you’ve ever worked with metal leaf (link: Wikipedia) you may know that it is brittle, reactive to warmth, and can be ripped apart by breathing on it (literally).
So once again Miya Ando has created a kimono that cannot be worn—this one functionally the opposite of the steel kimono, which would harm the wearer. Anyone attempting to wear this kimono, putting an obi on it, sitting or even walking, would tear it to shreds.
What is the point of a kimono that cannot be worn? Is Ando now asking us to consider how the kimono—once the most functional and common of garments, especially among the working class—has become an inaccessible, decorative, overly-complicated relic? Or is she just evoking the strange spirit of beauty inherent in the garment? Is Japan losing its kimono culture, or is it compounding the kimono with more and more material value (like pure silver) at the cost of making it impossible for anyone to actually use?
With no descriptions at all on her website, I wish I could ask Ando these things myself, but how do you interpret this one?