I have always found the idea of thinking beyond the properties of an object and being able to transform it to something modern that makes you question everything around you quite fascinating. Born in Hakkaido, Japan and currently residing in Australia, Kaori Kato's work is completely inspiring!
With Kaori's background her work involves both western culture and Japanese aspects. Kaori explains that Japanese paper folding is a huge part of the Japanese culture, but the term dress or a dress is quite western. Koari merges these two themes to create wearable art. She also explains "Japan has a long history in wrapping. This time, I wanted the challenge to incorporate paper folding and a western style dress as well as the Japanese culture of wrapping. I have done a lot of experiment with paper"
The thing that strikes me about Kaori is her ability to produce such impeccable work without creating sketches. She was honest enough to explain that even though she had completed a BA in Fine Art (Drawing), she was the only person that didn't know how to draw on a piece of paper. It's quite ironic that a talented artist and designer is able to produce such magnificent work with paper but her difficulty is putting thoughts on paper. She explains that her drawings occur during the process of creating her work, not on paper but in her head as she plays with the materials and discovers something she had never thought of before. She does how ever use paper to draw three demential sketches as she produces her final work.
Kaori primarily uses paper to create artwork or wearable art and explains "I have to touch the paper hundreds of times and I find this activity most absorbing". For her recent work Kaori has used fabric and was interested in using both paper and silk fabric within the same dress to investigate the relationship between paper and fabric.
When I asked Kaori about her thoughts on wearable art, I found her responses quite interesting and made me wonder if designers thought of fashion in that sense would fashion then have more integrity? She has found wearable art a little bit difficult. She explains the difference between a garment and art "There are unlimited potentials in the ways of which art can presented. On the other hand, I found making a garment an ambiguous activity in my artistic practice. I have to touch the paper or materials hundreds of times to create the patterns and the paper absorbs millions of my fingerprints at the end. The works, which hold my countless fingerprints are going to be on someone's body. Is the person wearing the paper? or fabric? or I wonder if the person is wearing my fingerprints and the history of the process".
I am quite intrigued how Kaori explores the endless possibilities with paper folding and I imagine her to be an extremely patient and gentle person. Kaori has recently displayed her wearable artistic sculptures at the 2011 Spotlight Emerging Designer Exhibition at Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. Kato’s works have been included in several exhibitions, including Gertrude Contemporary Art Space (Mercy Street Curated by Anusha Kenny), Craft Victoria (Fresh! Finalist 2009) and Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (Attune to the Earth (solo exhibition).
She was also invited to exhibit her drawing machine at Melbourne international Art Fair 08. In 2008 she was the recipient of the prestigious Wallara Travelling Scholarship. She has been extending her artistic practice by exhibiting in several interstates such as NSW and QLD.