Folk art has lived on exquisitely amidst the folk religions in piety on the land named Taiwan for a century. Fashion shines brilliantly for fierce competitions over the catwalk on the international stage.
In particular, when the world started turning into introspection, the culture of our own serving as nutrients for creativity has become an international trend, and local culture makes the best business card for the fashion in Taiwan to introduce itself to the world.
7 marvelous, iconic traditional arts of Taiwan, such as temple painting, lacquer art, knot weaving, paper art as well as the Ten Generals, shadow puppetry, and Taiwanese Opera of traditional performing arts, crystalized, with which 7 designers in collaborative creation extracted the intrinsic professionalism and extrinsic aesthetic symbols born from the legacy, locality, rituality, and artisanship in the folk art. Furthermore, they delved into the arts and crafts of rarity and transformed them into nutrients of fashion for experimentation, in which the most brilliant forms for the future of Taiwanese folk art came into being.
Folk art and fashion, two art forms on opposite sides of the spectrum, went through brainstorming without boundary, giving birth to seven wonderful dialogues of creativity! Seven experiments of audacity, of which the results cannot be predicted, were accomplished!
By walking into this experimental venue, you shall find that the more traditional turns out to be more fashionable! Only through translate the old can we innovate for the new!
Exhibition Dates: August 17, 2023 (Thursday) - October 20, 2023 (Friday)
Exhibition Hours: 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Exhibition Venue: National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute — Craft Design Gallery, 1st and B1 Floors
Temple Painting: Teenagers Possessed by Deities
Inspired by the personal experience of Justin Chou witnessing baseball players possessed by deities in his years of middle school, the student uniform shirts, lantern skirts, sports shirts, and baseball jackets are transformed and fused with the iconic lines of sky lanterns and temple architecture, presenting striking designs like the trench coats with sky lantern silhouettes and the baseball caps with deities. The collection fuses temple paintings, such as the Door Gods, temple dragons, Chihu patterns, and gourd calligraphy, with manga elements fond by teenagers like screentone, radial lines, wave patterns, and checkerboard grids. Mimicking the 2D world in 3D, the collection featuring street punk styles rich in folk art amusement, presenting a harmonious fusion of sports fashion and temple art.
Soul Catching: The Ten Generals
The traditional spirits of the Ten Generals vital in the performing arts of temples in Taiwan (in the rituals, symbols, forms, colors, etc.) are translated into garments of tomorrow. By studying the history, characters, choreography, costume embroidery, facial makeup, headwear, and instruments of the Ten Generals, the designer reinterprets the traditional art like embroidery and metal headwear with the modern fashion design techniques. The lotus pattern is integrated with sleek suits, along with cotton infills to stand out the facial patterns. With the “fashion wear,” “haute couture,” and “installation art” combined with the stage costumes and the avant-garde, futuristic interpretation the designer masters, the power of new generation is derived from the mighty force of the Ten Generals to captivate your soul.
Faith in the Lacquer Art
The faith sowed in a century carved out the artisanship beyond time. The lacquer art comes with the duality of painting art and craftsmanship that demands a perfect balance between aesthetics and techniques. It takes dozens of delicate work and unceasing production in repetition graphically, just so to lay out the thickness and height of the subject in the work that attains agility in hue and lighting. Either the aesthetics that translates 2D into 3D dynamics, or the textures, lighting, and coloring in the layers of lacquer of taka maki-e, constitutes the source of imagination for fashion. The artistic conception of taka maki-e and mother-of-pearl-inlaid lacquer are showcased via the textures and layering of fabrics. Through experimentation with boutique wear in variety, the collection engages in an aesthetic dialogue with the lacquer art in depth.
The Knot Weaving Art beyond Spirituality
Humans used to keep records by weaving knots before words came along. The thoughts of humanity to date weave out and intertwine into knots of abstractive forms, giving rise to symbols of wisdom and aesthetics beyond the shackle of reincarnation. With spiritual transcendence as the subject-matter of fantasy, the designer emulates the infinite creativity close to divinity. Sustainable cords made from recycled plastic bottles and cotton twines are employed to weave out works of knots. With knots as nodes, and rope as lines, the woven surface constitutes a dreamlike bond. The dreamcatcher woven with cotton yarn, ethereal tulle, and round beads transforms into an immortal body, becoming the vessel for clothing that appears authentic yet illusory as a mimicry of the magnificent beauty in the Taiwanese culture and religion.
The Art of Paper Sculpture: The Dance of the Dragon
The artisanship in the exquisite art of paper sculpting, the paper sculpture textures, the delicate hollows, and even scrap paper are all sources of inspiration. The cross-disciplinary creation of paper sculpture and fashion design translates materially with pen cutters on paper and scissors on fabric to reinterpret the cultural symbol of “dragon” in the manner of simulation. The soaring dragon turns into a dynamic silhouette. The scales and paper sculpture stand out from the flat surface vividly through the unique fabrics that dance to the wind. The overall power is preserved in the delicate twists of the work thanks to the collage and engraving to emulate paper sculpture. It is a fusion of folk art and fashion that lives out the experience of faithful spirituality amidst the ritual-like process in pursuit of perfection.
Shadow Play Representation
Inspired by the 80-year-old plays of the TUNG-HUA Shadow Puppet Theater (Journey to the West: Trouble in Heaven and The Jade Unicorn on Mount Jindou), characters such as Sheng (male), Dan (female), Jing (painted face), Muo (old man), and Chou (jester), as well as the carving techniques, coloring, and performance images are employed as the elements, which are deconstructed, arranged, and reassembled through the contemporary garment design. Also, with the beige from cowhide oxidized in time as well as red, green, and black as the primary hues, the visual wonder of lighting, shading, and smudging is presented. Combined with digital printing technology and pure handmade sewing to denote the shadow dynamics and character postures, the collection reinterprets the legacy, stories, nostalgia, childlike amusement, and impression of simplicity in the shadow puppetry art.
Opera Inspired & Interwoven
The collection draws its inspiration from the essence of Taiwanese Opera. Popular in the society through changes for centuries, Taiwanese Opera fuses the commoner’s culture with history, literature, and mythology, evolving into different stages. Aside from the distinctive characters, it presents artful postures and tunes as well. The rhythms, styling, coloring, and patterns unique to Taiwanese Opera are fused into fashion design. With her strength in knitted patterns, the designer created fashion wear bearing unique cultural features. The combination of traditional opera with fashion is an innovative experimentation. With fashion as the vessel, the exquisite artistry in the costumes and accessories of Taiwanese Opera is incorporated. Riding on the melodic dynamics, this collection conveys the visual art and fashion experience of civilization.