Rei Kawakubo’s exhibit at The Met was an astonishing show of unconventional fashion statements. Everything was surprising, including (and especially) the folding design of the exhibition guide, which was perfectly representative of the exhibit topic. Here’s the back and front.
The spaced out typography—lines justified to the edges—speaks for the theme of the exhibition: examining the spaces between things. (Inside, the first thing we’ll find is a quote from the artist: “I like to work with space and emptiness.”)
But as soon as you pick it up, you’ll discover that it’s not your typical brochure. It’s a stack of paper, saddle stitch stapled to 8.5×11″ pages, and then folded in half again.
Inside, the left panels introduce you to each collection, with the collection titles running along the edge to serve like an index (also justified to the edges). Moving your eye vertically upwards, the title then immediately escorts you to the top of the adjacent text block, a short quote from the artist. The right panels provide notes on the collection, and the bottoms of the panels carry the artist’s name and the fashion label. The effect is clean, clear, and beautifully balanced.
If, after navigating to this section, you decide you want more details, you will open the booklet further. Now, you see the names and descriptions for each piece of artwork, as well as a map to help orient you in the complex exhibit space:
Reinforced by the page folds, the grid is obvious. Each space is uniquely sized for each type of information it houses, which helps the eye to process them as different types of information immediately.
But more fascinating, the folding of the booklet creates hierarchy, and this innermost space holds the finer detail that otherwise would complicate our ability to flip through the guide. The text at the bottom now has “Art of the In-Between” now spanning the innermost panels.
So, the punchline is clear. The booklet to “The Art of the In-Between” is a conduit, a messenger running between the artwork and the viewer. It contains all of the details on the art, in-between the folds. And by making you unfold the pages, you become involved in the process of revealing and examining the spaces in between.
The exhibit is now closed, but you can take a mini virtual tour and download a copy of the exhibition guide here.