With the emblematic title of “Araki Amore” the Galleria Carla Sozzani presents an exhibition of Nobuyoshi Araki one of the most renowned and perhaps controversial Japanese photographers. A selection of works curated by Filippo Maggia, mostly unpublished and produced in the last two years.
Nobuyoshi Araki is a generous artist, a tireless explorer of human passions and a fine portrait maker. He is always able to deeply relate with his subjects. In this exhibition the classic themes of his photographic research - nudes, portraits, floral arrangements, the orderly yet chaotic metropolitan city - are all read today and processed with the recovery of negatives from the past decades.
The female figure appears here to be as a less visible, almost evoked: in the dancing figures of the Kaori dancers and in the use of dolls and other puppets that have always populated the dreams of the Tokyo photographer, as if they were souvenirs or memories, simple notes left on the sentimental diary of a life that has been spent to celebrate the beauty and the time transience of things that are destined to fade.
Araki is never tired of exploring the mystery of the female universe, today as even more than fifteen years ago, when in Tokyo he said to Filippo Maggia: "I'll tell you something that might even seem extreme and absurd: I do not know anything about the nature of women.
Through the lens I try to extract the nature of things and, in the case of women, of what they are like, in their daily lives or in their sexuality. But they are all different from each other, and that’s why I keep on taking pictures."
The themes of eros and death are a constant in his work: "After reincarnation in my new life, photography will still be the first word that I utter. It’s been a 60-year contract, near enough. - Photography is love and death – that’ll be my epitaph”.
Araki belongs to a generation of artists who emerged in the 1960s whilst Japan was experiencing radical economic growth and urbanisation as a result of post-war recovery.
The societal transformations and cultural shifts influenced him. He likewise often reflects Japanese heritage, with the women wearing traditional dress and the contemporary fears.
Likewise, many of his images feature mythical monsters, taken from the Kaiju (science fiction movies like Godzilla) where monsters attack Japanese cities.
In the exhibition at the Galleria Carla Sozzani there are three new compositions of more than 100 polaroid, in color and in black & white, that have been selected and put together by Araki as unique works, and a video documentary that presents, for the first time in Italy, Nobuyoshi Araki to work with the dancer Kaori in a naked portrait session, taken last year in July in Tokyo.
Nobuyoshi Araki is born on the 25 May 1940 in Tokyo. Graduated in photography and film at Chiba University’s Department of Photography, Painting and Engineering with a focus on the study of film and photography. He worked for a decade, until 1972, at the Advertising Agency Dentsu, made his first solo exhibition in 1965 in Shinijuku Station Building and won two main photographic awards. In 1971 he married Yoko Aoki, a central figure in his private life and in his artistic career. In the 80’s he was documenting hard pubs in Tokyo and published the volume “Tokyo Lucky Hole”. In 1990, the year of the death of his partner, Araki published the series “Sentimental Journey / Winter Journey”, on his personal relationship with her, her death and funeral. Since then a number of countless publications and exhibitions followed in galleries and museums around the world including: the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques Guimet, Paris (2016); Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam (2014); The Barbican Art Gallery, London (2005); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2003); Museo Pecci, Prato (2002); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent (2000); Wiener Secession, Vienna (1997); Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris (1995).