Araki Meets Hokusai.
Photographs by Nobuyoshi Araki.
Kehrer Verlag, 2008. 300 pp., 280 color illustrations., 7x10¼".
This catalog presents for the first time photographs of the Japanese artist Nobuyoshi Araki in combination with classical Japanese woodcuts from the Hanoverian collection of Michael Thun, which belong to the best of their type to be found anywhere in Europe.
Approximately one hundred current photographs, never exhibited before, from Araki’s notorious Bondage series are presented together with small-format woodcuts. Upon closer inspection, the woodcuts reveal only slightly concealed allusions to erotic desire and sexuality. It is not only where sexual activities may be seen that Araki’s spiritual affinity with his artistic ancestors becomes clear.
In essence, Araki’s photographs are always more than blatant provocation through naked skin and exposed bodily orifices. They are in fact stagings of individualized fantasies and culturally inherited images whose protagonists are placed in a manner similar to the traditional procedure by the masters of woodcuts with their pictorial figures—whether in the prints of Hokusai, Ukiyo-e, Kunisada, or Shin Hanga.