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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Yoshii Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, New York

  • Literature

    Araki, Akt-Tokyo 1971-1991, p.65
    Araki, Araki by Araki - The Photographer's Personal Selection, p. 269
    Araki, Self, Live, Death, p. 580
    Araki, The Works of Nobuyoshi Araki, Vol. 11: In Ruin, p. 26
    Taschen, Araki, pp. 352-353

  • Catalogue Essay

    “When I wake up and see flowers, I photograph them; it’s this feeling of proximity. These instant feelings come to me quite naturally. I always have a lot of flowers in my house. […] For me love is about proximity, familiarity, things one can touch.”

    For the past four decades internationally acclaimed Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki has meticulously assembled a body of work that is extraordinary in its breadth and scale. From street scenes of his beloved Tokyo to the women in his life and, as seen in the current lot, floral arrangements, Araki has documented moments of intimacy with the same dedication bestowed upon moments of seeming casualness. “A photograph takes place only at a certain instant,” Araki has stated, “the instant is the eternal and eternity is an instant.” In that regard Araki reveals that the two opposing ends of the spectrum—the instantaneous and the eternal—are interchangeable. Araki extends the intertwining of alleged opposites throughout his work, presenting an egalitarian approach whereby cherished elements in life maintain their desired status against their mirror opposites. To understand life, beauty and peace, therefore, one is to appreciate mortality, decay and disarray. The image in the current lot, From Close to Range, depicting an arrangement of harmoniously coexisting blossoming and wilting flowers, embodies Araki’s balanced approach. Indeed, as a powerful and compelling representation of Araki’s poetic vision, it is among his most celebrated images of flowers.

    The diptych format of the work alludes to a binary system—a balance of opposing forces. The flowers on the left panel are largely open and lively, reflecting Araki’s view that “Flowers are all erotic in my eyes. They’re all Eros.” Their petals appear lush and velvety, which imbues them with an undeniably sensual undertone that attests to Araki’s insatiable passion for life. The flowers on the right panel, however, have wilted, their petals have shrunk and their leaves have withered. Combined, the two panels allude to Araki’s vision, in which the temporal and the immortal are synonymous. Moreover, it is of significance that the flowers are not depicted in color. Their demise, however, is not literal but a metaphor for the cyclical nature of life and the endless fragile binaries of which it is comprised. Taken a mere year after the death of his beloved wife, Yoko, From Close to Range could is a loving ode to their bond—accepting the temporal nature of their physical relationship while eternalizing the memories shared within it.

    As an oversize diptych, From Close to Range is a very rare work by Araki. From a maximum edition of 15, only a few examples of this image exist in this specific size.


From Close to Range

Gelatin silver print diptych, printed 2008.
Each 49 x 39 7/8 in. (124.5 x 101.3 cm)
Overall 52 1/2 x 86 in. (133.4 x 218.4 cm)

Right panel signed in pencil on the verso; signed, dated in pencil, printed credit, title and date on a Certificate of Authenticity accompanying the work.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $191,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
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Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York
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New York Auction 1 April 10am & 2pm