Drawing on History

Cary Kwok's "Desire" at Opening Ceremony Tokyo

Cary Kwok’s detailed acrylic and pen works fetishistically trawl through the archives of fashion and pop culture, resurrecting cartoon characters, superheroes, coiffed Hollywood stars and the towering hairdos of 18th-century courtesans. Born in Hong Kong, Kwok studied fashion at Central Saint Martins in London, and following a stint designing for Jimmy Choo and Sergio Rossi took his obsession for historic style into the world of fine art. For his last show at London’s Herald Street Gallery, Desire, he riffed on the shoe, re-imagining pumps of yesteryear as giant sculpture-like objects or head-mounted ornaments—perhaps an elaborate hint about his rumored forthcoming footwear line. This month sees the opening of his first show in Japan at the Tokyo outpost of ultra-vogue boutique Opening Ceremony, an obvious venue for his stylized vision, given the store’s penchant for scouring the world for the best under-the-radar designers. For the show, also named Desire, Kwok has revisited Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to create anachronous juxtapositions of cultures and epochs in a series of colorful mock-portraits.

Desire opens April 7 at Opening Ceremony, Tokyo. Cary Kwok's work is also included in the Herald St group show at Tokyo's Taro Nasu gallery from April 9 and in Rude Britannia, which opens at London's Tate Britain on June 9.

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