Seen: Araki Nobuyoshi’s Kirishinat Rathole Gallery in Aoyama
Back in 2011 I was asked by Marc Feustel of Eyecurious to provide some Japanese photobooks for an article entitled Photobooks 2011: a view from Japan in it, I listed two books by Araki which dealt with his physical alteration of negatives and prints used to make the work, Shakyou-ronin Nikki (Wides), and Shamanatsu 2011 (Rathole).
In May of 2014 Taka Ishii Gallery exhibited a series of new work titled Love On The Left Eye (mini report here) Araki blackened out the right half of each slide film frame with a marker directly as a sort of darkly playful artistic response to going blind in his right eye. Kirishin continues his creative destruction and rebirth-through picture-halves, this time with a pair of scissors and cellophane tape. The technical explanation is easy- Two frames of slide film were held together and then sliced through. Each part of the frame was paired with its opposite and taped together to create two new pictures which were then scanned and enlarged for the exhibition. The press release from Rathole explains:
Kirishin, when written in Japanese as 切真 is composed of the character kiru meaning “to cut” (also used in the Japanese word for “sentimental”- a key theme found in many of Araki’s works-) and the character meaning “the truth” (also used in the Japanese word shashin meaning photography).
Careful viewers will notice some subtle yet clever formal connections between the image halves but to simply view them as those kinds of exercises would be missing the bigger picture- but Araki’s pictures have never been just about direct content, either. From the press release:
“Photography is just like life,” explains Araki, who gives birth to new discoveries and realities through a unique and unexpected synthesis of images in Kirishin. Not only is the title a clever play on words characteristic of the artist, but the photographs in the exhibition also express Araki’s playful sense of humor and his unrelenting thirst for life.
Kirishin is up at Rathole Gallery from September 26 – November 2, 2014 / 12:00 - 20:00 / Closed Mondays