The extensive work of Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki (*1940, resides in Tokyo) possesses a great deal of keyed-up potential. In his works Araki enframes both the intimate and the public by taking on monolithic themes such as eroticism, death or life.
Araki became renowned and acclaimed for his nudes. At first glance, these photographs seem disturbing; most of the sparsely clothed women are shown in shackles. The images provide the male gaze — so the rash conclusion — with effortless, passive diversion. What is easily overlooked is that the photographs are not based on coercive situations, but on poses that are voluntarily chosen by the participants. Erotic bondage or “kinbaku” goes as far back as the Middle Ages. It has little to do with western forms of bondage, where sexuality is foregrounded. Instead his photographs highlight the aesthetic marvel of the human body. In an interview Araki stated: “I can shackle the body of a woman, but not her mind. The bonds become an embrace.”
For his exhibition “PaiNting” at Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Araki produced black and white photographs and partially over-painted them. Through such compositional constellations Araki repeatedly succeeds in lending his photos an inexplicable allure.