Nobuyoshi Araki “Love-Dream, Love-Nothing”
Dates: May 25 – Jun 23, 2018
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo
Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present “Love-Dream, Love-Nothing,” an exhibition of works by Nobuyoshi Araki, from May 25 to June 23. This solo exhibition – his twenty-sixth with Taka Ishii Gallery, though his first at the new Tokyo space in complex665 that opened in October 2016 – presents 99 new works consisting mainly of monochromes captured on 6×7 film.
Since the early 1970s, Araki has committedly photographed extremely personal relationships with his subjects, releasing over the past half-century a prodigious 500-plus publications. He refers to his own photography as Shi-shashin, or the “I-Photograph” – a play on Shi-shosetsu, the “I-novel,” the literary form in which the narrative is related from a subjective first-person perspective – holding that the I-photograph is the truest form of photography. It was in 1971 in the preface to Sentimental Journey, in effect his debut publication, that Araki first made this bold declaration, and this stance has underpinned his work ever since.
After the death of his beloved wife Yoko in 1990, Araki’s work became thickly imprinted with Eros (life/sexual desire) and Thanatos (death), presenting these two poles as an inextricable unity. His recent work has sublimated even the illnesses that have plagued him since the late 2000s and the creeping effects of old age on his mind and body, as the series of solo exhibitions in Japan and abroad in 2017 demonstrated. Last year’s prolific run of 20 exhibitions gives the image of an artist who is staring his own death in the face, and is determined not to waste a moment of the time left to him. Inspirited by his own creations to head away from death and toward life, Araki has kept up his tireless creative activities to this day.
The exhibited works were all captured on medium-format monochrome film. Though monochromes originally symbolized death for Araki, he began last year to see movement in monochrome photography, claiming “You can’t kill it. A photo has to show minute movements to the last.” His basic stance of insisting on using film illustrates his conviction that the love, sympathy and emotion that he values in his photography can only be captured on emulsion-coated film. We hope you enjoy Araki’s latest offering in his trademark monochrome, a form he asserts to be the ultimate in photography.
Nobuyoshi Araki was born 1940 in Tokyo, and after graduating from Chiba University’s Department of Photography, Printing and Engineering, he joined the photography department at the advertising firm Dentsu. In 1964, he received the inaugural Taiyo Prize for “Satchin,” and in 1971, he self-published Sentimental Journey, a record of his honeymoon trip with his wife Yoko, releasing only a 1000 copies. He went on to establish a unique photographic world whose wide-ranging subjects – sensuous flowers, rope-bound nudes, skyscapes, food, streets of Tokyo, his pet cat – strongly exuded Eros and Thanatos, winning high regard at home and abroad as one of the leading Japanese photographers. Notable exhibitions include “Sentimental Journey 1971–2017–”, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (2017); “Araki”, Musée Guimet, Paris (2016); “Ōjō Shashū: Photography for the Afterlife – Faces, Skyscapes, Roads”, Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Aichi (2014); “Nobuyoshi Araki Photobook Exhibition: Arākī”, Izu Photo Museum, Shizuoka (2012); “NOBUYOSHI ARAKI: Self, Life, Death”, Barbican Art Gallery, London (2005); “Suicide in Tokyo”, Giardini di Castello, Venice (2002); “Nobuyoshi Araki”, S.M.A.K., Ghent (2000); “ARAKI Nobuyoshi Sentimental Photography, Sentimental Life”, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999); “Tokyo Comedy”, Wiener Secession, Vienna (1997) and “Journal intime”, Fondation Cartier pour I’art contemporain, Paris (1995). Honors include the Annual Award from the Photographic Society of Japan (1990), the 2nd Oribe Award (1999), the Austrian Decoration of Honor for Science and Arts (2008), the Special Award at the 54th Mainichi Art Award (2012), and the top prize at the 6th Ango Awards (2012).