*NSFW* || The Incomplete Araki

*But if you are at work and looking, I promise not to judge you…!

New York’s Museum of Sex is nowhere near the top of my ”places-to-see” list; it didn’t even make it to my ”tourist-traps-but-should-go-at-least-once” list. That was until ”The Incomplete Araki” a major retrospective about the erotic, provocative, sensual, eclectic and deeply, deeply personal work by one of the most notorious photographers of our times came up, back in 2018;  it was time to make an exception.

Lady Gaga
Nobuyoshi Araki, 2011
Gelatin silver print

This print originally comes from a 2009 photoshoot with Lady Gaga for Voguy Hommes Japan, and is distinctive because it combined for the first time Gaga’s particular brand of global superstardom and Araki’s signature use of bondage.


Self-portrait with Yōko (Colourscapes)
Nobuyoshi Araki, 1991
C-print

In all the ways that Araki chooses to represent himself in his photography – whether it be via self-portrait, metaphor, brushstroke or through documentary practice – perhaps none are so charged as the ones where he seeks to express how his marriage to his wife Yōko resulted in the most complex and private component of his identity.


Colourscapes
Nobuyoshi Araki, 1991
C-print


Winter Journey
Nobuyoshi Araki, 1989-90/2005
Gelatin silver print


Sentimental Journey
Nobuyoshi Araki, 1971/2017
Gelatin sliver print

”There is a picture of Yōko sleeping on a boat on the Yanagawa River,” Araki has said, about on of his favourite images from Sentimental Journey. ”It was our honeymoon, so she was exhausted from all the sex. In Japan we say that you cross the Sanzu River when you depart to the ‘other world’. I had no intention of taking a picture like that, so I feel like maybe God or someone made me take that picture. Her posture is like that of a fetus.”


Araki and Yōko met while they were both employed at the Japanese advertising firm Dentsu, in the late 1960s. They were married in 1971 and for the next 19 years, their relationship – everyday life, sex, their cat Chiro, Yōko’s sudden diagnosis of ovarian cancer, her illness, her death, her funeral – would be the basis for photographic work infused with intimacy, unabashed directness and a kind of evolving understanding that even the ferocious love Araki felt for Yōko would end, like all journeys do.

Complement:

Start your day with a good breakfast together, 2009
From the series Experimental Relationship
Chromogenic prints

&

Soft-heeled Shoes, 2013
3D printed Polyjet photopolymers, suede shoes, metal

by Pixy Liao


India in Woodstock, 2013
From the series Pheromone Hotbox

&

Céline, 2016
From the series Vénéneuse

by Amanda Charchian


Museum of Sex, Manhattan

February 18th, 2018

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