Sergey Smirnov (1953-2006): Woman in kimono

If Petersburg and kimono, then Loft. There they opened on Sunday the new scene of the traveling exhibition “1001 kimonos”. This imposing private collection has gone around Russia since last autumn. From the material of the exhibition covering the period from the early 18th to the 21th century now we only want to present a group homogeneous in time and subject, from the 1930s.

The center of the group is the kimono embroidered with the portrait of Oda Nobunaga (1534-82) on horseback and with the weapons of the warlord on the sleeves. The figure of this national hero was a usual motif of boy’s kimonos. The other, cheaper, industrially printed boy’s and man’s kimonos of the period vary on this motif, the contemporary national heroes and their weapons.

Boy’s kimono

Boy’s kimono

The visitors of the exhibition cannot decide whether on the second kimono the Japanese infantry assaults an enemy tank like kamikazes, for the machine gun of the tank turns towards them. However, weapon experts point out that the picture is a true representation of the Japanese tank I-Go, introduced in 1931, which also had a gun on the back. Just as the battleship above it is also a faithful image of the Nagato-Mutsu cruiser.

The two boy’s kimono hang on the sides of a pure white man’s kimono which is traditionally  worn only once in a life, on the occasion of seppuku, ritual suicide.

The two clothes belonging to one of the boy’s kimonos

Sleeveless child’s kimono

Man’s kimono

Boy’s kimono

Sleeveless boy’s kimono

Boy’s kimono

Boy’s kimono

Boy’s kimono

Chuya-obi with the representation of an air battle

Kamikaze airplane above Mount Fuji. New Year’s postcard, 1937


Bad Guide has thought futher on the post, and has compared the involuntary irony of these “sweetened” images of war to the voluntary irony of James Rosenquist’s installation F-111 made during the Vietnam war, on which the pictures of American prosperity fuse with the war cuts running uninterruptedly in the background.

James Rosenquist: F-111 (detail). 1964-65

4 comentarios:

Megkoronáz A.J.P. dijo...

Wow! Amazing, shocking and funny images. It's like the Italian Futurists meet Claes Oldenburg and Jeff Koons and it has similarities to recent Chinese and Japanese art. I've stolen a picture and commented on them further at my blog, Studiolum. Thank you so much for this!

Studiolum dijo...

Thank you, Megkoronáz, for the link and the comments! Yes, Jeff Koons is a perfect parallel I would have not thought about without your suggestion.

Megkoronáz dijo...

It was too late to be writing that last night, I've fixed it up a bit this morning.

Megkoronáz dijo...

Thanks for the voluntary - involuntary distinction. Of course that's it. I'm no expert on litotes and related rhetorical gestures, but I believe the kimonos could also be seen an example of meiosis.