As far as collaborations go, this has to be among the most organic. Phillip Lim’s team presented the designer with an inspiration board for his spring/summer 2012 collection and there they were: several examples of Japanese artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi’s dreamy film and photographic installations. “I really connected to the emotional quality of his work,” Lim says. “There is something very similar in our approach. He has this hand which is a ‘simple complexity,’ something that is inherent in my designs too.”
The decision from there was a fairly simple one — Nakanishi’s work would adorn Lim’s spring/summer shop-in-shop at Saks. Nakanishi’s 44 photo-printed transparencies hang equidistant in an orderly row, fusing together to create the effect of a hazy, atmospheric landscape suspended mid-air. They are a natural fit, dangling among Lim’s own creations which, this season, take their inspiration from “the freedom and fragility of kites.”
Nakanishi was not familiar with Lim before he was approached to collaborate on this project. (It’s not his fashion first, though: Nakanishi has worked with Comme des Garçons as well). But the artist was immediately impressed. The idea for the artwork itself came from his previous explorations of the passing of time. “For this work, I took pictures of sunrise at several intervals of time early in the morning for approximately two hours,” he says. And printed all 44 of them on transparent films. “I tried to express the link with the collection of Phillips Lim, about the freedom and fragility of kites, so the images needed to be more abstract and modern than my usual works.”
Projects like this, he adds, are key to his personal practice as well. “There are possibilities and potentialities for creating new things by sharing ideas, even when their vehicle is different. These kind of opportunities influence me too and have an impact on my forthcoming artworks”— many of which will be on view at Zurich’s Kashya Hildebrand gallery come October.