Spandex Bodysuit Art is the Next Big Thing

Scene from artist Yuzura Maeda's video "Zentai Song" via Today Online.

Singapore is set to hold the first-ever Zentai Art Festival, dedicated to artwork that takes inspiration from the same-named full bodysuit made from spandex.

Covering the wearer from head to toe, including the face, the bodysuit is closely associated with Japanese pop culture. Now a group of Singaporeans have adopted the costume and thrown it into a contemporary art context, exploring the possibilities of what this identity-erasing attire can offer.

“When I see a group of people wearing zentai together, I can identify female or male but nothing more. And maybe this is enough. We could live just as male or female as we are playing too many roles in society, such as nationality, age, job, education, family… I think zentai can remind us that it is good to be ourselves that exists beyond the identities,” Singapore-based artist Yuzuru Maeda wrote on the art fair’s website.

The word “zentai” is a shortened form of “zenshin taitu,” the Japanese term for the suits. “Zentai” also means “whole,” or “entire,” according to the fair organizers, and to embody the collective spirit the festival will kick off with a “Zentai Walk” in which everyone, including members of the public, are invited to wear the bodysuits and parade around the fairground at the Substation Gallery.

To be held November 7-15, the festival will feature photography, paintings and videos by Singapore’s Justin Lee and Tan Ai Khim, Vietnam’s Xuyen Ho My, the Philippines’ Brian Sergio, as well as Yuzuru Maeda.


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