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Since 1898, RIMOWA has been a leader in travel, with an evolving selection of thoughtful tools that facilitate journeys near and far. Its global brand campaign, “Never Still,” embodies this ambitious mindset with impactful stories from high-profile friends of the brand who are pursuing excellence in their field. Now, a special project in Japan, titled “The New Normal”, will showcase local Japanese influencers as they share what has kept them motivated during the most difficult of circumstances.
MES is an upcoming artist duo of Kanae and Takeru, who explores the possibilities of new art in a new era. Based in Tokyo, their expression area is not limited to art scene but also in links with club scene and street culture. RIMOWA approached them to find out how they evolve the “nowness” with their work in this new normal lifestyle.
“The interesting part and role of art is to measure the sense of distance, and to bring you to places you’ve never imagined” – Kanae
- How did you start working together?
Kanae: We were going to the same university. Since I was majoring in the study of arts, I wanted to do the group exhibition, so I planned it with Takeru with a group of about 10 people.
- What is the most important theme for your works?
Takeru: It is very important for me to make our works very eye-catching. What I always pay attention to the flow that makes audience interested.
Kanae: I keep in mind is to not take existing value as a matter of course. I want to make audience to re-think and view things differently through our works.
“There are a lot of works we were able to create because our situation and environment have changed, so, the COVID-19 really was a big turning point for us.” – Takeru
- You also create works that link club scene or street culture. What kind of works was the turning point for MES?
Takeru: We used to have two axes that we were based on, the club scene and art. However, after the COVID-19, we didn’t get chance to do much in the club for a whole year or so. That’s when we put ourselves back in the fine art scene again and went to rural side of Japan for exhibitions.
Kanae: We brought what we did in the clubs to outside, and were able to create works while interacting with the city. That gave us a new perspective to view the world, and focus more on a social approach and invisible connection of the people.
"The power of space, like the heat and vibes that transmit live, is my biggest inspiration. I try to have as many sources of inspiration as possible.” – Takeru
- Do you get inspiration from the “space” itself?
Kanae: I think the power of the space is important for us, and we always make our works site-specific. The history or timeline of the location have a huge effect.
“When one of us thinks of one thing, the other brings three. We always inspire each other and get surprised and impressed.” – Kanae, Takeru
- What are the possibilities of MES in the future?
Takeru: When the situation gets better, I’d like to do exhibitions overseas. I want to see the people, places, club scene, and of course art scene in the world. Right now, we are preparing to get some inspirations. Long story short, we want to go overseas!
Kanae: I agree 100%!
MES is a Japanese artist duo based in Tokyo. Formed in 2015 by KANAE TANIKAWA and TAKERU ARAI at Tokyo University of the Arts, they started having exhibitions, performances, and events in Japan and abroad. They make extensive use of LASERs and temporary materials to develop their works in which our society is observed from a marginal perspective, such as connecting club culture with contemporary art. Recently, they hold a solo exhibition “DISTANCE OF RESISTANCE / 抵抗の距離”. They have also been active on a collaboration, participating in works as follows: ”Reborn Art Festival 2021 summer”and ” Media Ambition Tokyo 2021”, ANB Tokyo "ENCOUNTERS", and online exhibition "Dark Independants". They have plan to exhibit in “Reborn Art Festival 2021 summer”. Also, they play many events such as clubs, fashion, and live performances using LASERs and “live-taping” continuously since 2016, including "TECHNO INVADERS" and "WAIFU".