Tokyo Lucky Hole
Notorious in his native Japan for his challenging, emotionally raw images and explicit depictions of sexuality and mortality, Nobuyoshi Araki has courted controversy for the last five decades.
Simultaneously erotic and historical, Araki reflects Japan’s unique combination of strict tradition and constant innovation. His fascination with Tokyo is manifest in his work, delving into the traditions, riotous nightlife and impish child’s play of this fluctuating metropolis, alongside intimate, impromptu and candid moments with the photographer, his compatriots and his egotistical ‘genius’ alter-ego. Araki’s lustrous portraits of friends and lovers employ highly stylised compositions, vibrant colours, and the plastic toys of our disposable society to reference the overt commercialism of Japanese society.
Araki’s most notable contribution to the photography canon is his pioneering conception of ‘i-photography’, an autobiographical but fictive account of life and death through his images. In Sentimental Journey and later in Winter Journey Araki documented both the intimate and the mundane from his honeymoon and his wife’s terminal battle with cancer. By blurring the boundaries between life and art Araki’s work becomes uncomfortably candid, presenting death with a reverence as shocking and graphic as any of his more erotic material.