Nobuyoshi Araki “Umegaoka Elegy”

Dates: May 25 – Jun 15, 2019
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo

Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present “Umegaoka Elegy,” a solo exhibition of works by Nobuyoshi Araki. This marks the 27th installment of Araki’s solo exhibition at Taka Ishii Gallery, which has been presented on a near annual basis for over 25 years since the gallery’s opening in 1994. The exhibition introduces a selection of approximately 90 new works in color and monochrome captured on medium-format film.

As is the case with “Tokyo Nude” (1989), “Tokyo Story” (1989), and “Tokyo Comedy” (1997), many of Araki’s works feature “Tokyo” where he himself was born and raised, as a prefix in their titles. For the title of this exhibition however, Araki has selected the town of “Umegaoka” where he currently works and resides. While the subjects of his works captured in and around his home in Umegaoka consist mainly of dolls, monster figurines, flowers, and monochrome skies, rhythmically inserted into this visual oeuvre are photographs of his wife Yoko as well as Robert Frank who turns 95 years old this year, and notes indicating the years of passing of his late mother and father and his two older brothers who had both died at a young age.

In moments such as the transition from the Showa to the Heisei era, and at the turn of the 20th century, Araki had used his camera to capture the social conditions of pivotal stages in history through “reproducing” images of women who lived their life to the fullest in these times, the various events and incidents that had occurred, and also the city’s ever-changing streetscapes. This year, as Japan approaches the new “Reiwa” era, the subject of Araki’s interest is turned towards himself. Araki, whose physical strength continues to decline day by day, and now often tends to refrain from going out, is becoming increasingly aware of his own impending death. His lens that had once enabled him to bid farewell and pay respect to death of his father, mother, wife Yoko and beloved cat Chiro by means of capturing them as subjects in his photographs, is now pointed at the photographer himself.

The culmination of photographs is a candid reflection of Araki’s daily life in which he engages in straightforwardly capturing his preferred and habitual subjects, and thus entrust their respective interpretation to those who view them. We hope this serves as an opportunity for viewers to enjoy the latest works by Araki, who as a photographer turning 79 years old this year, has himself become a metaphoric manifestation of an all-embracing camera.

A catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.
Nobuyoshi Araki “Umegaoka Elegy”
Published by Taka Ishii Gallery (2019)
Expected release date: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Please contact the gallery for further information.

Nobuyoshi Araki (Tokyo, 1940) is a Tokyo-based photographer. Receiving high acclaim since the 1970s for photographic works that portray a dialogue between him and the female subjects he captures, Araki has established his very own world of photography that permeates with an intense air of Eros and Thanatos through images such as those of alluring flowers, kinbaku (bondage) nudes, skyscapes, food, the streets of Tokyo, and his cat. He has continued to vigorously publish over 520 books of his works, and has simultaneously held numerous exhibitions both throughout Japan and abroad. Araki is recognized internationally as one of the leading figures of post-war Japanese photography.

His solo exhibitions include “Sentimental Journey 1971-2017-,” the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo (2017); “Araki,” the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet, Paris (2016); “Ōjō Shashū: Photography for the Afterlife – Faces, Skyscapes, Roads,” the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (2014); “Nobuyoshi Araki Photobook Exhibition: Arākī,” the IZU PHOTO MUSEUM, Shizuoka (2012); “NOBUYOSHI ARAKI: Self, Life, Death,” Barbican Art Gallery, London (2005); “Hana- Jinsei,” the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2003); “Tokyo Still Life,” Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2001); “Nobuyoshi Araki,” the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent (2000); “ARAKI Nobuyoshi Sentimental Photography, Sentimental Life,” the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1999); “Tokyo Comedy,” the Wiener Secession, Vienna (1997); “Journal intime,” the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (1995); “Akt-Tokyo: Nobuyoshi Araki 1971-1991,″ the Forum Stadtpark, Graz (1992). Araki is a recipient of The photographic Society of Japan Annual Award (1990), the Austrian Decoration of Honor for Science and Arts (2008) and the 54th Mainichi Art Award (2012).

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