ivan vartanian

The series of six illustrations that comprises “Yoh’s Monochromatic World” is a mise-en-scene of sorts. Each portal or door opens to another room. The reduction of the palette to contrast emphasizes silhouette and contour, as is also the case with Mukuro’s photographs of his clothing designs. Both artists make a thematic link through this visual trope, fusing the figure in each image to her environs. So while there is a sense of perspective, we are left with a flattened, graphic quality. Centuries ago, clothing with a deep indigo blue, practically black, was a very traditional colour associated with farmers and lower-class samurai. At the same time, a contrasting high-fashion sensibility is created with the use of black, which has its roots in fashion, first influenced by designers such as Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto. The early work of these fashion pioneers was exclusively monochromatic and continues to be characterized by warped forms that are themselves a deconstruction of traditional silhouettes. Japanese Goth - Tiffany Godoy, Ivan Vartanian


“In the works of Takato Yamamoto, there is a fertile field of themes that evokes references to hedonism, bondage, cruelty, and gore entwined in erotic displays. While his style of drawing seems to have a close allegiance to fin-de-siècle artists such as the floridly illustrated foregrounds of Gustav Klimt and the use of contour and gesture of Egon Schiele, it is more appropriate to consider the work of woodblock prints, specifically shunga (erotic woodblock prints), and their depiction of erotic scenes. These traditional forms faced few of the modern limits, such as religious or social prohibitions, that may now influence an artist’s imaginings. Rather, bondage, rape, beastiality, and crucifixion were common motifs, appearing less as actual depictions and more as entertaining, bizarre scenes built from a network of metaphors. In the prewar are, there were many thriving movements in arts and literature in Japan, including a fascination with ero-guro (an abbreviation of erotic and grotesque), a genre of literature suffused with tales of passion and the corporeal.” 

-Tiffany Godoy and Ivan Vartanian, from the “Eros” chapter in the book Japanese Goth.