The photographs in this article are from an installation by artist Fumio Tachibana. The photographer is Yasuhide Kuge. This exhibition was the first time I had consciously experienced the artist, his inspiration, materials, work, and working space as inseparable. Tachibana is someone who has mastered the art of evocation. The re-purposing and re-imagining of “fragments” woven or arranged into a new whole is a important concept in my own work.

Fumio Tachibana

His subject is Clara, a fashion institute for western style dressmaking in Japan, founded and run by Motoko and Shiro Koike in 1923. They also published a fashion magazine called Yosai Shunju. The building was demolished and the magazine banned during World War 2 in 1944. I’ll take a wild guess that anything to do with western culture was not at all popular in Japan during that time. Motoko revived the institute as a classroom studio in the 1950s. When the studio was dismantled, Fumio Tachibana collected and reorganized the fragments of Motoko’s work and materials (drawings, sketches, dressmaking patterns, postwar Japanese handbills, wrapping paper, silk thread, and printing equipment) into a large scale installation of new artworks and arrangements in their own space so that the classroom itself was part of the work. There is something powerful going on here in that Motoko’s presence is strongly felt in the photographs.







Source: Communion W, 2001 Curator: Can Wong

10 thoughts on “Clara

  1. Wonderful images and a very timely post for me as I tear apart my own studio and go into the limbo of waiting for the new one to be born. Please write more about your ideas of the artist and their space. This is important stuff.

    • While taking apart the studio, remember to chase away all the ghosts. Try not to pack them up and take them with you. 2011 was the year of building structures and none of them intended as a working space for making art of any kind. Obviously, that is something I could have done. Blood, sweat, splinters, and more than a few tears have resulted in two high tunnels, three retaining walls, twelve more raised beds and an entire chicken city. I haven’t decided whether or not the reconstruction of a studio is something I still need or if I‘m just not ready to land this raft.

    • Hi Emma. I like the idea of thoughts photos. I wish I could actually photograph my thoughts. I’ve had to use an alternative since if I had waited for my thoughts to be coherent, there would never be a peep from me.

  2. I’m in transition, so this is timely for me. My work has gotten smaller but the smaller it gets the more space it seems I need to do it. Most recently, “studio” has come to mean “backpack in which I throw everything and move off into the woods or the yard.” More than anything, I’m finding that I am collecting this and that for something my mind hasn’t told me how to create yet. But that’s okay, too.

    Thank you for sharing this.


    • Transition seems to be the word of the season. Your work has contracted and my own has expanded or perhaps I should say that I have expanded. Our method is similar. Since there is no work space, the work space is everywhere and so are my materials. I’m not sure how the other beings who dwell here feel about this. I think they are a bit nervous that they will be co-opted into one of my ongoing (as in going on forever) projects.

  3. Pingback: Studio Tuesday | I Saw the Angel

  4. Fascinating images and ideas.
    Thoughts of space, transition, and fragments have been dancing about in my head lately.
    Thanks for this.

Comments are closed.