Nobuyoshi Araki “VINTAGE PRINTS”

Dates: Apr 4 – Apr 28, 2018
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery New York
Opening reception: Friday, Apr 6, 18:00 – 20:00
Talk event: Saturday, Apr 7, 15:00 – 16:00

Taka Ishii Gallery New York is pleased to present an exhibition of Nobuyoshi Araki’s works from April 4 to 28, 2018, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the gallery’s New York outpost. The exhibition will feature 21 vintage prints from his career: works from the 1970s, the decade in which Araki began his practice as a freelance photographer, and later works from key series such as Tokyo, in Autumn (1984), Nobuyoshi Araki’s Pseudo-Diary (1980), Tokyo Story (1989), and The First Year of HEISEI: Nobuyoshi Araki (1990).

Araki quit the Japanese advertising giant Dentsu in 1972, distancing himself from commercial photography. With more time to spare, he began to photograph the Tokyo cityscape, influenced by Eugène Atget and Walker Evans, using a tripod-mounted Pentax 6×7 camera with a 55mm lens, which he carried around on his shoulder. The resulting works, which capture the entire area of the image in fine detail, were initially named LIFE; they were later published as a series in 1984 under the title Tokyo, in Autumn. Araki’s attitude as a photographer, which is “to simply transcribe what the city has already expressed,” is consistent with his approach towards his other subjects that include flowers, nudes, portraits, the sky, food and his pet cat.

Ever since Sentimental Journey (1971) – in effect his first photography series – Araki has placed weight on building close relationships with his subjects. He spent the 1970s and 1980s establishing his unique photographic world, in which Eros and Thanatos are inseparably connected; in parallel, he also released works that drew on the latent fictionality of photographs. In Nobuyoshi Araki’s Pseudo-Reportage (1980), the photographs were accompanied by text that was partly non-factual despite its documentary tone; Nobuyoshi Araki’s Pseudo-Diary (1980), meanwhile, printed false dates on the images, using the camera’s date function. The photographs in the latter became the prototype for Araki’s later “Photo Diary” works that were taken with a compact camera and marked with dates.

Tokyo Story (1989), titled after the Yasujiro Ozu film of the same name, was a milestone series that marked a new development in Araki’s photography. Images from his everyday life – the snow seen from his balcony at home, his wife Yoko, his beloved cat Chiro – are mixed with nudes and cold urban landscapes, weaving together a melancholic visual narrative. The following year’s The First Year of HEISEI: Nobuyoshi Araki is comprised entirely of photographs taken in 1989, a year that opened with the death of Emperor Hirohito, bringing on the Heisei Imperial era. Death (Thanatos) weighs heavily on the images of the Imperial Funeral Ceremony and those of Yoko, his wife, who was diagnosed with uterine fibroids in the same year.

The exhibited works offer a survey of Araki’s early career, spanning a period of almost two decades right up to Yoko’s death in 1990.

This exhibition is held in collaboration with Alison Bradley Projects

In conjunction with the exhibition, a gallery talk will be given by Mr. Ryuichi Kaneko.
Date and time: Saturday, Apr 7, 15:00 – 16:00
Guest speaker: Mr. Ryuichi Kaneko (Photography Historian)

An exhibition catalogue including the twenty-one images on show will be published.
【Publication details】 Nobuyoshi Araki, VINTAGE PRINTS
Published by Dashwood Books (2018)
Retail price: USD 30 + tax
Limited edition of 500, softcover, total 48 pages, 21 illustrations, H7.75 x W6.0 inches, 0.02 kg
Please contact the gallery or Dashwood Books for further information.

Press release download