Araki, Miyamoto, Sugimoto: Contemporary Japanese Photography


by Anna Oberthur

Called a genius by some and a misogynist by others, Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is probably best known for his sexually provocative female nudes. But the controversial artist's work stretches beyond black and white portraits of women draped across rumpled bedclothes or—more distressingly—elaborately bound and tied to trees.

In the Araki, Miyamoto, Sugimoto: Contemporary Japanese Photography exhibit opening 10 November 2007 at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, (in Wolfsburg, Germany) some of Araki's best-known shots from the 1995 series "Tokyo Novelle" are showcased alongside photos from his newer "Painting Flowers" series. (Click images for detail and see more after the jump.)

In those photos, Araki has splattered or brushed the blooms with glistening paint before capturing them on film. The result is an "almost obscene voluptuousness," the museum says, giving the floral imagery so common in both Eastern and Western culture a "cryptic, decadent air," and—some might say—the provocative nudes a run for their money.


The exhibit also includes Ryuji Miyamoto's images of the Japanese city of Kobe after the devastating 1995 earthquake that nearly destroyed it, and Hiroshi Sugimoto's strangely alluring photos of American drive-in theaters and cinemas. By letting the exposure run an entire movie length, Sugimoto captures the screens as empty, eerily glowing rectangles.

The show, which runs until 24 March 2007, is a compliment to of the museum's current main exhibition, "Japan and the West: Fulfilled Emptiness."

Also on Cool Hunting: Arakimentari