An exploration of femininity in contemporary Japanese pop culture - Solo exhibition by Tiffany Atkin.
Lust For Life Gallery, 176 Wickham St, Fortitude Valley, 5 Feb - 5 April 2015.
Now more than ever, there is an inherent need to feel unique in a world of cookie cutter conformity. Having spent time living in Tokyo in the past, I became fascinated by the idea of personal expression and uniqueness through fashion and aesthetic, within Japanese pop-culture and sub- cultures, particularly for women. In this current body of work, I have enjoyed exploring representations of femininity in Japanese popular culture, how these ideologies affect contemporary sub-cultures, and the way these assertions of individuality through fashion and certain behaviours continue to both support + subvert mainstream popular culture in Japan.
Popular culture, sub-culture and traditional culture constantly intersect, combine with and appose one another. The representation of female sexuality, femininity, the ‘kawaii’ (cute) and Lolita movements, as well as expressive street fashion, and how these things influence and subvert each other, is the main inspiration behind this current body of work.
I am inspired by the concept of what is considered cute & popular, the ‘Lolita complex’ and rebuttal of these notions through subversive youth fashion culture, an adoption of a customised mixture of current and traditional trends. This ‘old meets new’ aesthetic is also something I’m really interested in and I think this is evident across the works produced for GYARU.
I am intrigued by the fact that within these ideas of feminine expression, I also see a strong mix of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. In cities like Tokyo, fashion, architecture, food, art, all play with traditional tributes and foundations; it’s relatively common to see a large modern skyscraper neighbouring a 100 year old traditional house or temple. Or a Harajuku girl wearing a yukata (traditional summer kimono) deliberately styled with bold modern accessories. I find this juxtaposition of traditional of contemporary expression really intriguing.
GYARU is an exploration of all of these things, and what they mean to me personally. It is a culmination of many years of ideas, fascination, adventures, late nights, growth, discovery, loves, losses and heart-felt respect for a land and culture so signigicant to my journey as an artist and human. I hope this underlying personal journey can be felt and enjoyed by all who view the work.
The show at Lust For Life Gallery is now finished. Selected works are still available - to purchase work please email
Read the bmag interview.
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