William Klein + Daido Moriyama
Tate Modern, London
What was building up to be the photography show of the year was a huge disappointment. What were the Tate trying to achieve in comparing works of these two photographers? Both have strong positioning in the photography/art markets and their images are commonly disseminated through the photo-book where their state of purpose fit particularly well. Did we need to be presented with these comparisons in a major art institution when these links between Klein and Moriyama have existed for over a decade?
It appears the Tate have tried to be clever in presenting the works to a wider public audience, applying strategies of very large images to surprise its audience. What the photo-book allows are for the images to exist within a fixed state and the images to communicate themselves with the reader. This didn’t work in this Tate show. The images were categorised in ways they don’t exist in books i.e. light and shadow, and underestimated the intellect of the spectator. The whole show didn’t fit together and was seen to present ideas and themes between two important image makers, making you leave felling like you’ve listened to a greatest hits album. Sure, one can see the curator tried to represent a sense of repetition and quantity in the works but surely the books already achieve this and does this need to be demonstrated here? I don’t think so.
Should we expect more from the Tate or is it focussing on feeding the masses to gain as much revenue from its high ticket pricing? These works have been better presented in galleries including Hamiltons in London, Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, and Zeit-Photo Salon in Tokyo. The photographs spoke for themselves which unfortunately didn’t on this occasion. A bad decision of bring Klein and Moriyama together. They don’t need each other.
Let’s hope when Boris Mikhailov has a big ‘retrospective’ in London in the near future it will be at the Haward Gallery.
Until Jan 20 2013