Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

2121: Reiko Sudo & NUNO



University of the Creative Arts, Surrey, England
June 17-July 23, 2005

Better Than Best
Exhibition celebrates Reiko Sudo’s vision

When the inventive textiles of the Japanese design house Nuno go on display this month at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design, in the UK, it will be cloth strictly for cloth’s sake. “I want our fabrics to be enjoyed as fabrics, not for any special use,” says Reiko Sudo, who has served as Nuno’s artistic director for nearly all of its 21 years.

That means the traveling anniversary exhibition, “21/21: The Textile Vision of Reiko Sudo and Nuno,” curated by Lesley Millar, will feature woven and printed fabrics wrapped into hanging columns rather than around sofas, and stretched into walls rather than around bodies. To reinforce the idea that fabric has meaning apart from what it adorns, video interviews with ordinary people talking about their experiences with cloth will be shown alongside the work of Nuno’s 10 designers.

Yet visitors will hardly need videos to appreciate the pure aesthetic impact of cotton woven with stainless steel threads and patinated by an open flame, or vibrant polyester that’s been spray-painted with the same technique used on cars. Having mastered the art of melding traditional aesthetics with cutting-edge technologies, Nuno already has 35 of its 1400 original designs on display in museums around the world.

The show, which opens October 17, will be groundbreaking not only as a comprehensive collection, but a comprehensive experience—one of its highlights will be a “touch” wall for handling samples, an element Sudo considers crucial to understanding her work with our sense of touch rather than just sight. “Textiles are not just a pleasure to look at,” she says. “They are to be experienced with all five senses—the feel of textiles in the hand or on the body, the periodic rustling sounds, even their taste on the lips.”

I.D. Magazine (Nov. 2005: 19)