Nobuyoshi Araki - PHOTOGRAPHS New York Friday, April 16, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    From the artist; to Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo; to the present Private Collection

  • Literature

    Araki, Personal Sentimentalism in Photography, n.p

  • Catalogue Essay

    NOBUYOSHI ARAKI To publish this collection, I badly wanted to print them myself. I wanted to insert my personal feelings into the prints […] I randomly selected 201 photos from 50,000 cuts from over 5,000 Brownie films and placed them in chronological order, and then, it all came together in a sentimental way. Actually, this book was made to celebrate A’s 60th birthday, I wonder if the sentimental journey will  go on afterwards.Noboyoshi Araki, Personal Sentimentalism in Photography, band translationThe following selection of works by Nobuyoshi Araki were published in Personal Sentimentalism in Photography, a compilation celebrating the 60th birthday of the famed Japanese photographer. Renowned for his continuous  photographing of women in various states of dress and undress, Araki has stated, “Women have all the charms of life itself. They have all the essential attributes: beauty, ugliness, obscenity, purity…much more so than nature. In woman, there is sea and sky. In woman, there is the bud and the flower.” The reiteration of complimentary pairs as a vital component in a woman’s being alludes to Araki’s passion for equilibrium. That is, his need to maintain a constant and circuitous flow permitting the co-existence of seemingly opposite ends, primarily in relation to nature, and subsequently, life. In his native country of Japan, the 60th birthday—also known as Kanreki— marks the end of one life cycle and the welcoming of the next. The sexagenarian individual is treated as an infant would be—showered with gifts; openly doted on; and dressed in red, the traditional color for newborns. It is befitting, therefore, that the works presented are all gelatin silver prints, of which Araki has said, “black and white photos represent death.” The death addressed in the photographs, of course, is not literal but symbolic, as the images depict Araki’s proclaimed lifeline—beautiful women. As such, the images attest to the acceptance of the harmonious concurrence of life and death within the same capsule, or in this case, the same frame. It is an acknowledgement that one cannot exist without the other. The duality of life and death, beginning and end, and elder and child is further reflected in the selection of images: a woman riding the bicycle down a small street (lot 89) versus one leisurely sprawled on a sofa (lot 90); a seated woman fully clothed (lot 91) versus a supine woman in the nude (lot 92); a woman comfortably tangled in covers (lot 93) versus one perched on the edge of a mattress contemplating sleep (lot 94); dead flowers (lot 95) versus a pregnant woman (lot 96); a woman elegantly seated in the privacy of a home (lot 97) versus one standing by a busy road (lot 98). Therefore, each image supplants another in a spontaneous and seemingly unplanned manner, presenting a scene that it trusts another, at some point, to beautifully—and naturally, counterbalance.  It is the very desire for cyclical continuation that will surely carry the famed photographer’s legacy into the next life cycle.


Untitled from Personal Sentimentalism in Photography

Gelatin silver print, printed by the artist in 2000.
10 5/8 x 12 3/4 in. (27 x 32.4 cm).
Signed in pencil, Taka Ishii Gallery credit and print date stamp on the verso. Accompanied by a signed Certificate of Authenticity.

$4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for $3,750


16 April 2010
New York