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All Women are Beautiful
by Galerie Steph
Location: Galerie Steph
Artist(s): Nobuyoshi ARAKI
Date: 7 Sep - 23 Oct 2011

There is nothing more interesting than women, and nothing more exciting. - Nobuyoshi Araki

Galerie Steph, together with Ooi Botos, is pleased to present the first-ever Singapore gallery exhibition of famed and controversial Japanese photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki. The artist’s solo exhibition “Nobuyoshi Araki: All Women are Beautiful” opens September 7 and runs through October 16, 2011. This will be the internationally recognized artist’s first exhibition in Singapore since his 2005 Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts show. Featured are large format color photographs and unique Polaroid prints from the series “Novel Photography” (1995), “67 Shooting Back” (2007), “Pola Eros” (2006 - 2009), “Sky” (2006 – 2009), “Pola Nostalgia” (2011) and “Lewd Paintings” (2011) .

In 1970, Araki began his over 40-year unabated obsession with book publishing by self-publishing a series of “Xerox” photographic books. Araki’s unique and singular vision gained international recognition with his landmark book “Sentimental Journey” (1971) which featured intimate images of his wife Yoko from the couple’s honeymoon. From that point on, Araki continued to court controversy for his voyeuristically powerful, challenging and, at times, playful images of female sexuality. Evoking historical, social and contemporary commercial motifs and traditions, Araki exploits them for his own ends creating richly colored and highly composed portraits of women as well as using his media to create environments and landscapes of exquisite beauty. A leitmotif in Araki’s practice is “kinbaku” – the delicate traditional art of bondage. The aesthetic – the result of intricate knotting of ropes, creating specific patterns on the surface of the skin - is one that the artist formally and obsessively explores in his practice. In 2010, notably, Araki photographed pop superstar Lady Gaga in exquisitely lit, highly stylized black & white “kinbaku” portraits.

Araki’s work has been exhibited in numerous museums and institutions such as The Barbican, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris. Works in public collections include the Centre Pompidou, Paris; ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, Skovvej; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

As for 'Beauty' spoken, this is like a fixed illusion that someone has developed. After all, I want to take photographs of ‘real women’, lives full of faults and with a dirty side. That's why I have been taking such women for a long time. - Nobuyoshi Araki

About the Artist

Nobuyoshi Araki was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1940. In 1963, Araki completed his studies at Chiba University’s Department of Photography, Painting and Engineering with a focus on the study of film and photography. Upon graduation, Araki began working for the advertising firm Dentsu while pursuing an independent photographic practice.

In 1964, Araki was awarded the first Taiyo magazine prize for his photographic work “Satchin”, a series which served as the basis for his 1965 debut solo exhibition, “Satchin and his brother Mabo”. From 1970, Araki began the self-publication and distribution of a series of “Xerox” books and the following year published the landmark, “Sentimental Journey”, featuring intimate images of his wife Yoko from the couple’s honeymoon.

Two years later, following his departure from Dentsu in 1972, Araki along with contemporaries Daido Moriyama, Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe, Masahisa Fukase and Noriaki Yokosuka, established the Workshop Photography School. From the latter part of the 1970’s onwards, Araki began the publication of then and still controversial nude photographs as well as his prolific writings. In 1991, “Sentimental Journey - Winter’s Journey” was released. The publishing of this book – which documented the illness and death of Yoko by cancer the previous year - marked a decisive turning point in Araki’s life and career.

From 1992, a series of domestic and international institutional exhibitions served to familiarize a wider audience with Araki’s practice both in and outside Japan. A selection of these exhibitions includes “Akt-Tokyo: 1971-1991” (Graz, Austria, touring Europe, 1992-1995), “Tokyo Comedy” (Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria) and “Araki Retrographs” (Hara Museum, Tokyo) - both 1997. Following Araki’s debut solo museum exhibition “Sentimental photography, sentimental life” (1999) at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, The Barbican, London, presented the retrospective, “Nobuyoshi Araki: Self, Life, Death” (2005). Subsequent exhibitions include, “TOKYO JINSEI” mounted by the Edo Tokyo Museum (2006), “Araki Gold”, presented by l’Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica - Palazzo Fontana di Trevi, Rome, Italy (2007) and “The Faces of Japan" Project HIROSHIMA by Nobuyoshi Araki”, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima (2009). Over the course of a career spanning 45 years, Araki has published over 350 books. In 2008, Araki was awarded the Austrian Decoration of Honor for Science and Arts.

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