21 Nov 2019 ‑ 19 Jan 2020 (except Mon) 11am ‑ 7pm (8 hours)
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SHOP Taka Ishii Gallery is pleased to present “Flower Rondeau”, Nobuyoshi Araki’s solo exhibition from November 21, 2019 to January 19, 2020 to mark the space’s first anniversary. Since the opening of the gallery in Tokyo in 1994, over 27 of Araki’s solo exhibitions are presented and this exhibition in Hong Kong features a special fashion collaboration titled “NOBUYOSHI ARAKI x uniform experiment”, and a selection of original photographic works centered on flower motifs. Rare vintage books and edition will also be available for viewing and purchase.

Flowers preyed on Araki’s imagination as symbols of Eros and Thanatos since his childhood. Growing up nearby Jyokanji temple in downtown Tokyo, a place where spirits of courtesans from Yoshiwara were enshrined, Araki used to watch the cut flowers offered at the graveyards as a child. To Araki, arranging decayed flowers is a form of revival, and photography records the beauty of brevity eternally.
Flowers become more enriched with life as they approach their death.
The most beautiful moment is just before they perish.
When coming close to them, one is enraptured with sexual spirituality and I can hear the Flower Rondeau.
Nobuyoshi Araki, Kakyoku, Shinchosha, 1997

Araki’s wild and joie de vivre approach to photography is highly appreciated not only in the scope of fine art but also by the fashion world. The Japanese photography master has teamed up with international fashion brands and icons, including Issey Miyake (1997), CHRISTIAN DADA (2016), mame (2016), Supreme (2016), Saint Laurent (2017) and uniform experiment (2019). Past fashion collaboration projects highlighted his iconic motifs including bondage nudes, arrangements of cut flowers and splashed paints on prints. In the new exhibition, each piece from “NOBUYOSHI ARAKI x uniform experiment” collaboration is printed with the artist’s signature and his polaroid floral series, selected by Hiroshi Fujiwara, a prominent musician, producer, designer, and at the same time a noticeable icon in music, street fashion and pop culture.

In addition to the floral fashion design works, the exhibition will also display Araki’s “Flower Rondeau” (1997) in the form of wallpaper. Departing from his earlier practice of placing flowers among a ruined setting, this series emphasizes the fully-bloomed blossoms’ own corruption in close-ups. The lush petals are imbued with an undisguised sensual undertone and the bold, unexpected color combinations create a “flower-fuck scene” as described by the artist.

Other series on view include “67 Shooting Back” (2007) and “From Close-range” (1991), featuring nudes, skyscapes and decayed flowers. As suggested by its title, “67 Shooting Back” is a counterattack launched by Araki at 67 years old against digital photography and the status quo of beauty. Produced with 6 x 7 cameras and film photographs, this series gives prominence to married middle-aged women, who are identified by Araki as “real women” of “lives full of faults and with a dirty side.” While the deeply toned black and white photographs selected from “From Close-range” is part of a profoundly personal series, taken after the death of Araki’s wife Yoko in January 1990. Objects linked to the memories of Yoko, including wilting flowers, are recorded with a delicate sensitivity and masterful craftsmanship. Araki once said in an interview, “I loved my wife, and traces of this remain in my feelings and my body, traces that survive in the photos”. These sentimental works remark his incredible love, which is his point of departure as an I-Novel photographer.