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Araki.Tokyo
until March 4, 2018

Pinakothek der Moderne | Sammlung Moderne Kunst

Nobuyoshi Araki (Japanese, b. 1940) is one of the most prolific but also most provocative photographers of our time. Since the 1960s, Araki has been using a camera – obsessively and on a daily basis – to capture the world around him, an appropriation reflected in nearly 500 books and hundreds of thousands of photographs to date. His body of work encompasses a wide range of subjects, from highly erotic images of women that attracted a great deal of attention worldwide, 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 died young.

With the support of PIN. Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne, a set of original prints of the images from Araki’s book "Tokyo" were acquired for the museum in 2004. 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 Koji Taki, the legendary founder of the avant-garde journal "Provoke. Tokyo" marks the beginning of Araki’s impassioned, relentless, and ongoing exploration of urban life in his hometown.

In this early, conceptually-oriented work, the artist combines snapshots of anonymous passers-by, whom he observed at busy intersections, with a young woman’s erotic self-staging, full of innuendo. 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 characterizes his entire photographic oeuvre. The contrasts of anonymous and intimate, clothed and naked, inner world and outer world function as subtle references to the separation between public and private spheres, between dream and reality. Much like the viewer, the passers-by play the role of the anonymous spectator and, at the same time, enter the hidden world of a city that withdraws from surveillance, homogeneity and social norms.
This exhibition is the first to display the "Tokyo" series along with other iconic works from Araki’s early years.



Fig.: Nobuyoshi Araki, Untiteltd, from: The Past, 1972/73, before 1993, Courtesy Sammlung Goetz, München © Nobuyoshi Araki.



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