This winter Foam, the renowned photography museum in Amsterdam, will present a major solo exhibition of the famous Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki (Tokyo 1940). ‘Ojo Sashu – Photography for the After Life: Alluring Hell’ will contain the very best of Araki’s work and promises to deal with all the themes that tie together his impressive oeuvre.
To explore life, sex and death, Foam will show the most important and beautiful series published during Araki’s long career. Among them is his classic Sentimental Journey/Winter Journey series, with pictures of Araki’s honeymoon in 1971 and his wife’s death almost 20 years later. But there will also be a new series called qARADISE and the rediscovered and never shown Alluring Hell (2008). These contain dark photographs of flowers with dolls and erotic black-and-white photographs painted over by Araki himself.
What connects these works is Nobuyoshi Araki’s unique style. His photographs have been called personal and indifferent, posed and random, erotic, anarchistic, touching, vulgar, lurid, sentimental and – in short – overwhelming. His pictures are often taken in his immediate surroundings (Tokyo, his house, his wife) but also incorporate erotic subjects such as Kinbaku, a Japanese form of rope bondage. It is the combination of a seemingly detached visual approach with both mundane and confrontational subjects that never ceases to fascinate.
Together with his photo books (he has published over 450 of them) this will confront the viewer with the alienation, transiency and melancholy Araki has often felt himself. Or, as the curators write: ‘Only by distancing himself through his lens, keeping life at an arms length, the artist can truly approach reality and eventually reconcile life and death.’
In close cooperation with the artist himself and with the help of Galerie Alex Daniëls / Reflex Amsterdam, Foam will present a fascinating and beautiful taste of Araki’s work in an exhibition that we can highly recommend. Visit the Foam website for more information.