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A Man with two hats

This is a post from the weareoca.com archive. Information contained within it may now be out of date.
Saturday saw 24 students and three tutors tackle a study visit to Tate Modern’s combined Moriyama Klein retrospective. And ‘tackle’ feels like the right word for what is a massive exhibition. Personally I think the approach worked well for the survey of Klein’s work. Not so much a man with two hats, as a wearer of many hats, the range of work on show from his well known black and white street and fashion photography to his less well known textiles created an image of an artist driven to innovate. And more than this, not afraid to go back and see if he could make something more of earlier work. The transition from the brash extrovert scale of Klein’s contact series to Moriyama’s work could not have been more abrupt and it made me wonder if wouldn’t have been better to pause for a calming break at that point.
There are still a few days to catch this fabulous exhibition. Sadly the Klein film on the BBC iPlayer has gone, but the films on the Tate Modern website are worth a view.
Early student reactions are starting to appear on learning logs:
Helen’s thoughts here
Gill’s thoughts here
Keep them coming people.
[Image: Simon Barber]

Posted by author: Genevieve Sioka
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13 thoughts on “A Man with two hats

  • Couldn’t get to the study day, but visited the exhibition in early December – my reactions are here in case anyone is interested in a “non-study day” take.
    Although I couldn’t get to London – I did get to Newcastle for a parallel (albeit slightly lower profile) study visit to Futurelands Now at the Laing and Jim Shaw at the Baltic. My reactions will be on my blog in the next day or two.

  • It was a good study day, I’m having trouble writing my thoughts down well enough to put them here (so far anyway), I spent about 30mins walking backwards and forwards between the Klein half which by and large left me a bit unaffected, so far I can best describe this as that I looked at them as though they were historical.
    On the other hand I was very affected by the Moriyama half. So I was walking back and forth trying to work this out in order to be able to name the quite profound difference I was seeing. I couldn’t really do on this on the day and I’m still attempting to do this in my notes. However reading up on them both in the catalogue (something I hadn’t done on the day) I find that the ideas described in the Moriyama half are so very much more “me” than those in the Klein half and so I’m guessing that this is what I’m seeing in the images and why I found them so much more compelling. I almost began to wonder if I was seeing a difference between modernism and it then falling apart. (even if only partially and temporarily)
    Anyway I was wondering….did all of us have a strong preference for one half rather than the other? And why do people think that is when visually there are these similarities?
    (Sorry for my questions, and problems with language and general muddledness rather than a sensible exhibition review!)

  • I had a strong preference for the Moriyama – I felt Klein was trying to tell me something fairly obvious (cities are about people – people are interesting and come in all guises, but basically they’re the same the world over perhaps?) whereas Moriyama was trying to make sense of his relationship with the world and his memories, and in doing so gave me an insight into how my personal memory works.
    I agree with everything that everyone has written about struggling with the sheer quantity of visual information.

  • Interesting thread- I visited there on Saturday too. Just in the process of writing up my notes. I was very much overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the exhibition and I prefered the Moriyama half. My head was spinning after it!

  • Also having trouble pulling it all together, but I’ve written a blog to get some of this down before I forget it all.
    My preference was for Klein but I am seeing more in Moriyama as I reflect further. Look forward to catching up on everyones’ reflections soon.

    • Eileen, an interesting read!
      I can’t comment on your blog (China-thing), but you mention a few interesting points.
      You mention that you relate better to Moriyama’s work on an intimate scale, which is interesting. I wonder how much this has to do with the way that he sees the world… from what I’ve read on him, and you mention it also, that he is trying to make sense of the world, constantly searching. I find this interesting set against the element that he sees the city as an erotic place.
      For me, both these things would be quite personal, and I guess I would also relate better to smaller imagery, rather than in-your-face (vulgarity?) large prints…
      On Klein you mention the celebration of creating the photograph, and this is something I’ve never really thought about… yes, I do enjoy it, but have somehow taken it for granted a little.

      • Dewald, sorry not to reply before now. I think in part it’s about how each sees the world, and in part due to Klein’s graphic skills and the fact that he made quite a lot of work expressly for this exhibition. To some extent it felt to me as if it was designed around him, with Moriyama fitting in (I have no idea if this is right or not, but do know that Klein was very engaged in the process of putting on the exhibition).
        I think both are exploring the world, but Moriyama is more concerned with inner worlds, or perhaps with the way the world he moves through feels to him and what it means in terms of his own myth and drives, while Klein seems to me to be more interested in other people and external events. Moriyama’s innerness is I am sure a contributory factor to the smaller scale images seeming to suit his work better.
        And as others have said, by the time you’d made your way through Klein you’d seen a lot and had a huge amount to think about and this may not have been in Moriyama’s favour.

  • I was really pleased to have made the study day which I enjoyed a great deal. The Klein images were huge and a joy to view, although I was so engrossed in the Klein section I was pretty tired when entering the Moriyama section which meant I didn’t quite appreciate Moriyama as much as I could have. Having said that I felt both sections were a feast for the imagination, Klein had me feeling like I was right in the middle of some of the huge scale images to Moriyama which left me with a definite impression of him being the stray dog, in and out of pretty much everything capturing the world as he saw it.
    Thank you so much for organising Gareth, very much enjoyed

  • This was my first study visit with OCA, and my second time visit to the show…
    My original thoughts from my first visit are here http://oca.mudd-photography.eu/#post49.
    The show to me is about two different animals in a similar world… the ballsy New Yorker Klein, and the more distal in nature ‘Black Dog’ Moriyama. I am more than impressed by both.
    Great day Gareth, Thank you

  • I did not attend the day but shall post my blog about the exhibition in due course …
    AFter seeing the exhibition, I asked if there was a catalogue! There was not one but two … one for Klein and one for Moriyama. Apparently Klein did not want to be in the same catalogue as Moriyama – not sure of the reason. I bought the Moriyama catalogue may get the Klein one later.
    For me, Moriyama was more interesting though I question the sincerity of his soul searching; my favourite piece was Klein’s film of the 1960’s Paris student riots – he was actually there. This was not a media organised report but a visual record by someone who seemed to understand what was going on … !
    Overall, a great albeit slightly overwhelmingly exhibition!!

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