Friday, April 26, 2013

Tokio Kumagai (1948-1987)

Trompe-l'œil (French for deceive the eye) describes a technique used in art to resent 2 dimensional objects in three dimensions. The resulting optical illusion is chatagorised as a form of "forced perspective," and is is commonily used in theatre design and film making. In 1982 Japanese shoe designer Tokio Kumagai used Trompe-l'œil in a series of shoe designs entitled Shoes to eat (Taberu kutsu). The surrealist footwear collection was inspired by the models of entrees seen in the windows of Japanese restaurants. The shoes were not actually edible but instead made of acrylic or resin using plastic food-sample production methods. The artist graduated in 1970 from the famous Bunka Fashion College before moving to Paris where he worked with Jean-Charles de Castelbaja. Later he moved to Italy to work with Cerruti. He opened his first shoe boutique in 1981 in Paris and soon established himself for playful designs of shoes resembling cars and mice. He openly adapted the work of other artists like Dali, Kandinsky and Mondrian into his hand-crafted footwear. Kumagai's innovative approach and incorporation of a wide range of materials has ensured his shoes are collector's items. Many are on display in museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum , New York, Kyoto Costume Institute, the National Gallery of Australia, and the Powerhouse Museum of Science and Design, Sydney.

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