IED and Lindsay Kemp together for Pitti: a workshop and final performance inspired by Kabuki theatre

Museo del Novecento

IED is present with a flourish in this edition of Pitti: with 40 of its best fashion and design students from 9 different branches, plus a collaboration with an international artist who has left an indelible mark on contemporary art and culture. A challenge which takes the shape of a performance event whose elements will all be designed and created by the students, backed up by artisans, designers and Kemp.

From the 1970s, the English-born artist Lindsay Kemp and the Lindsay Kemp Company aroused astonishment and controversy all over the world with an extravagantly heterodox mixture of theatrical styles and genres, blending theatre and dance, tradition and invention.

For Pitti Uomo, Kemp – who among many other things, directed the Ziggy Stardust Concerts for David Bowie – will be a guest at IED from 12 to 15 June for a workshop freely inspired by Japanese Kabuki theatre and ukiyo-e prints from the Edo period, between the 17th and 19th centuries.
The workshop will involve 40 students from the IED Group who – under the overall guidance of Kemp and the supervision of Giovanni Ottonello, IED Art Director – will create the costumes for the event, using fabrics and products from companies in the Como area and Tuscany. The performance at the end of the workshop will feature Kemp himself as protagonist, accompanied by two of his dancers, and will take place on June 15th in the superb cloister of Florence’s Museo Novecento, for an invited public. The students involved in the creation of the costumes will wear them as part of Kemp’s performance event.
This conclusive event will be semi-improvised and absolutely unrepeatable. Kemp and his dancers will evoke the figure of Okuni, the founder of Kabuki, and will interact with the young designers/models/courtesans. Kemp’s dances will be accompanied live by Joji Hirota, the acclaimed Japanese musician who worked with him for many years and who will here duet with him via percussion, flute and voice, in another fusion between ancient tradition and contemporary avant-garde.
During the same days, in its Florence branch in Via Bufalini 6R, IED will exhibit a series of Kemp’s drawings printed on silk… an exhibition which will then go on tour.

The performance is part of Secret Florence program. Secret Florence’s core mission is to enhance the attractiveness of the city of Florence during the opening week of Pitti Immagine Uomo. This is achieved through an innovational and high quality artistic proposal intended for a young, international audience interested in unveiling the connections between contemporary artistic languages and the extraordinary historical heritage of the city.