Araki, Love and Death
Museo d’Arte Lugano
October 23 - February 20, 2010
© NOBUYOSHI ARAKI, A’s Lovers, s.d.
Courtesy the artist and Yoshiko Isshiki Office, Tokyo
NOBUYOSHI ARAKI ranks today as one of the most well-known and celebrated artist photographers in the world with more than four hundred publications to his name. Despite his great celebrity, Araki Love and Death is one of only a very few retrospectives dedicated to him in Europe.
Nobuyoshi Araki's photography expresses and updates many of the themes most closely connected to Japanese culture. The Lugano exhibition bears witness to the artist's work in its many varied expressions: in addition to the autobiographical series – including Sentimental Journey/Winter Journey, which documents the relationship between the artist and his wife Yoko from the day of their marriage till the tragic illness and premature death of Yoko in 1990– urban landscapes, the suggestive images of flowers and food, the poetic series dedicated to the sky and, of course, the series of female nudes and bondage which are, more than any other of his subjects, so clearly linked to his renown.
From this short list of subjects it is clear just how much Araki's work expresses Japanese culture, in the exaltation of the changing of the seasons, the ephemeral beauty of flowers, and of feminine sensuality. The artist's work is not limited to a simple registration of these subjects, but they make evident and almost tangible, even to a Western audience, the perturbing character that they have in Japanese culture.
The exhibition mirrors Araki's urgency to capture the continuous transformation of reality, through a continuous photographic documentation. The display features nearly two thousand medium and large format pictures alongside an impressive installation of three thousand Polaroids taken by the artist over the years are presented in a highly dense, mosaic format. The audience is both overwhelmed and disoriented by the visual impact created not only by the single shots, but by the greater whole of the images.
Finally, and perhaps what makes the Lugano exhibition unique, is the showing of his latest works, including the series dedicated to his beloved cat Chiro and a series of large format photographs over which the artist intervenes with calligraphy, paint and collage which is presented here to the public for the first time.
Museo d'Arte Lugano
Riva Caccia 5