You are on page 1of 28

The Art of Nobuyoshi Araki

Araki, photo by Nan Goldin, Tokyo Love 1995

Nobuyoshi Araki 荒木 経惟 (1940- )
Brief Biography
Nobuyoshi Araki’s works demonstrate features of
post-modern Japan such as:
• Richness of figurality
• Evanescence and lyricism of life
• Variety of shifting values

Main topics in Araki’s works:

Self and Life 私 生
Sex (Eros)
Death (Thanatos) 死
Modern Tokyo scene

8. 2.Araki’s favorite ten photographers. 3. 10. 9. 5. 4. 6. and major influences 1. Jacques-Henri Lartigue Diane Arbus Eugène Atget Félix Nadar Man Ray Brassaï Henri Cartier-Bresson Ihei Kimura 木村伊兵衛 Kishin Shinoyama 篠山 紀信 Nobuyoshi Araki . 7.

The influence of Man Ray & Kishin Shinoyama .

Kishin Shinoyama Man Ray Kishin Shinoyama Man Ray .

The influence of Henri Cartier-Bresson & Eugène Atget .

Henri Cartier-Bresson Henri Cartier-Bresson Eugène Atget .

The Sentimental Journey Documentation of honeymoon The Intimate Photography 私寫真 Photography as private diary .

Yōko Araki (荒木陽子) is Araki’s most beloved woman and best model. .


Î more exaggerated and daring “The death of someone dear to you makes turn towards life. death (Thanatos) is implied in love and sex. .” – Araki •Reflecting on the evanescence of life •Also.death of wife in 1990.Turning point of Araki’s styles .

.Billowing vitality in the face of death Sexual content reveals the passage from life to death.

Tying up a woman becomes an embrace. Only her physical parts can be tied up.Araki .” . I only tie up a woman's body because I know I cannot tie up her heart.Something to hold on to in this ever-changing world “Kinbaku (knots with ropes) are different from bondage.

” – Nobuyoshi “Arachy” .Opposition to conventional morality “Art is all about doing what you shouldn’t.

And this instant is unidentifiable.A post-modern view of time Random timecodes “A photograph takes place only at a certain instant. that's the eternal.” – Araki •Another influence of Bresson . The instant is the eternal and the eternal is the instant. Eternity is achieved by releasing the camera shutter and letting it descend. When the camera shutter is released.

” . I don't have any interest in any city besides Tokyo.Araki . To be honest.Tokyo is Araki’s city •Portraits of people from all walks of life •Post-industrial age cityscapes “Photographing a city that is not my own is bothersome.


Tokyo’s Contemporary Sexual Underworld I Ensuring that the truth remains unseen! .

Tokyo’s Contemporary Sexual Underworld II Tokyo Love A documentary project with Nan Goldin in 1994 from Tokyo Love 1995 Photojournalism on the subcultures of Tokyo •Portraits of adolescence •gender bending performers in Tokyo •High visuality in costumes and space decorations from Tokyo Love 1995 .

Monsters (as altered Egos) •Reviving the tradition of animism as seem in old prints (for example. represents the desires of humanity Hokusai . Hokusai) •Monsters/Kaiju. such as Godzilla.

Sexual drive behind the monstrosity © Nobuyoshi Araki .

the vegetation) are juxtaposed with representations of both real (actual dinosaurs) and imaginary (Godzilla etc. . the artificial and the natural seem to occupy the same world.Here. real life (the cat.) animals.

Japan beneath the Kimono .

Shunga (春画) Shunga .The influences of Edo Periods Ukiyo-e prints and erotic art. ie.

taking photos as an imaginary participant and observer .” .Araki •The male is Araki himself. There is bashfulness in Shunga. they don't show everything. but I haven't reached that level yet.•Influenced by Shunga. The genitals are visible. In other words. but the rest is hidden by the kimono. They are hiding a secret. but the male is invisible “I'd like to take photos similar to Shunga.

“In my photographs I often appear in scenes containing bondage or sexual activity.A photographer of post-modern thoughts and lyrical intent •Every photo is a microcosm of evanescent life •The artist himself is an observer and participant in the scene he has captured. After all. I play the role of a midget in a Shunga painting. “ Araki . I prefer photographs to sex. A secondary role as a spectator.

New York 2005 • Nan Goldin and Nobuyoshi Araki: Tokyo Love.P.References and Extended Readings • Nobuyoshi Araki: Self. Life.A. nostalgia and sex – Interviews of Araki . D. Phaidon Press. New York 1995 • Araki’s official website • Araki interviewed by Jérôme Sans • Intimate photography: Tokyo. Death.

Photo Credits • All Araki works are from Nobuyoshi Araki: Self. • Except the three noted are from Nan Goldin and Nobuyoshi Araki: Tokyo Love. New York 2005.A. Phaidon Press. D. New York 1995 • The Rest are from .P. Life. Death.