Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki (*1940) studied photography and film at Chiba University from 1959-1963. After he graduated, he began his career at the advertising
agency Dentsu. He left the agency in 1972 and started to work as freelance photographer.
Ever since graduation, Araki has obsessively been using a camera on a daily basis, capturing the world around him. His manifest are some 500 books and hundreds of thousands of photographs to date. Some of his work is very provocative and polarising, but nevertheless – Araki is one of the most substantiated photographers of our time.
His body of work encompasses a wide range of subjects, from highly erotic images of women, to artificial still lifes, images of plants, everyday scenes shot with a near-photojournalistic eye and architectural photographs, to quite personal, diary-like photographs of himself and his wife Yoko, who passed at a young age.
This exhibition displays the “Tokyo” series along with other iconic works from Araki’s early years. Series like “The Past“ (1972) and “The Days We Were Happy“ (1972), are on view next to rarely displayed works like the “Xerox Photo Albums” and Araki’s long out-of-print artist’s books from the 1970s.
Composed of 28 exquisite diptychs, “Tokyo” is one of Araki’s earliest independent book projects, published in a very limited edition in 1973 with an introduction by Kōji Taki, founder of the avant-garde journal “Provoke”.
“Tokyo” marks the beginning of Araki’s intense, relentless, and ongoing exploration of urban life in his hometown. In this early, conceptually-oriented work, the artist combines snapshots of anonymous passers-by with a young woman’s allusive erotic self-staging. For Araki, the combination of quick, fleeting street photography with portraits of a female body in increasingly unambiguous, sexually charged poses remains the most compelling way to describe Tokyo. This association. The contrasts of anonymous and intimate, clothed and naked, inner world and outer world characterise his entire photographic oeuvre, functioning as subtle references to the separation between public and private spheres, between dream and reality.
More than forty years after the first edition, “Tokyo” is being republished as a bibliophile limited edition monograph, including German and English translations of Kōji Taki’s essay, along with new texts by Yasufumi Nakamori and Inka Graeve Ingelmann.
Pinakothek der Moderne
Barer Str. 40, 80333 München
Through March 4th 2018
Daily 10 – 18h, Thursday 10 – 20 h, Mondays closed