Nobuyoshi Araki

Madrid, December 18, 2003 - January 30, 2004

Press Release

Javier Lopez Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibit by Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki (1940) that will include a diverse selection of black and white and color photography; an assorted display of the artist’s work that includes pieces from: his series with the model Kaori and a series of 50 Polaroid works that accompany his renowned flowers, still life, and nude images from his project ‘Tokyo Diary.’

Nobuyoshi Araki, or "Arachy", how he likes to be called, makes a portrait of his city of birth, Tokyo, which in turn becomes the central theme of his work; through Tokyo’s lens his shots explore the female topic. It was during his long walks through Tokyo's streets that he captured his first empty cityscape pictures with a small Leica; ‘Tokyo Autumn’ from 1972 is among his earlier examples. His subsequent discovery of Sinjuku, the notorious Red District - closed in 1985 due to juridical disposition- characterized by its infinite female types, exercises in “Arachy” a fascination that shapes his posterior work. Further, his incursions in the night as well as his predilection for female youth have gained him the nickname ‘Japanese Toulouse-Lautrec’ (one can also think of the contemporary Balthus).

Working in the verge line, in between pornography and art, has brought the photographer considerable issues throughout his artistic career with Japanese authorities: the censure in 1988 of the release of the magazine Shashin Jidai which included his photographs, amoral charges, exhibition shut downs and the imprisonment in 1993 of a curator for showing the artist’s nudes are some among the long list of examples. Despite the setbacks, Nobuyoshi Araki has managed to remain afloat, testing the limits of social tolerance; playing to be a rebel without being perceived as a threat to moral values and taboos. His photographic series from the eighties and nineties, such as ‘Tokyo Nude’ and ‘Vaginal Flowers’ respectively, combine his two previous independent artistic registers: his stripped sentimentality borderline kitsch with his disproportionate eroticism overtly pornographic. For example, his pictures of ‘A's Paradise’ from 1998 portray Araki’s ability to incorporate plastic animals regardless of the context either in city streets or as a fetish objects lying on the breasts or in between the buttocks of one of his beautiful models.

By 1979 Nobuyoshi Araki’s photographs were already on display at the Venice Biennial and ever since then his work has been the subject to numerous retrospectives in venues both in Europe and in the United States. In Spain, his art was on view for the first time in Barcelona as part of a collective show in 1986 at La Casa Edizalde. In 1994 La Sala Parpalló de Valencia presented his oeuvre in a joint exhibition with Larry Clark. By 2001 his work was in the first Biennial of Barcelona and he then participated in PhotoEspaña 2002, a Photographic Festival held yearly in Madrid.

Parallel to this exhibit, a selection of his works is on view at La Fábrica Galería (Alameda, 9 – 28014 Madrid. Tel: + 34 91 360 13 25).

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Artist Page

Nobuyoshi Araki

Selected Press

El Cultural_El Mundo
December 18, 2003

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December 18, 2003

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December, 2003

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Blanco y Negro Cultural_ABC
December 27, 2003

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Babelia_El País
January 10, 2004

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Nobuyoshi Araki

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