500 Polaroids by Japanese Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki Exhibiting at Yoshii Gallery

Colourscapes

Now through Friday, March 25

Yoshii Gallery – 980 Madison Avenue (between 76th and 77th Streets)

Admission: Free

Yoshii Gallery’s current exhibition, Colourscapes, features seven works and 500 Polaroids by the renowned Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. Araki shot the Polaroids between 2003 and 2006.

Nobuyoshi Araki is a prolific Japanese photographer whose monumental oeuvre ranges from picturesque snapshots of day-to-day minutiae to graphic and sexualized images. Araki works primarily in his hometown of Tokyo, using a range of cameras to explore various themes that exist within his city. Such themes include the connections and contradictions between love and sex, industry and nature, chaos and emptiness.

About Colourscapes

In this exhibition, images from Araki’s Colourscapes series are displayed with an extensive selection of his Polaroids. Polaroids serve as an important aspect of Araki’s practice, allowing him to test out a particular shot or subject instantly before taking a picture on traditional film. He never uses digital cameras, which would otherwise allow him to preview an image before printing it.

Beyond their practical use, the Polaroids are also works of art in themselves. The content of these images includes subjects as varied as sweeping skyscapes, graphic images of bondage, and snapshots of his beloved cat, Chiro.

Nobuyoshi Araki’s cat, Chiro. Photo from Yoshii Gallery’s Instagram.

The Colourscapes capture subjects like those of the Polaroids, expanded to a larger scale. They focus primarily on the subjects of women and flowers, evoking themes of sexuality and desire, both literal and symbolic.

Nobuyoshi Araki Watermelon from Yoshii Gallery’s Instagram

About Nobuyoshi Araki

Born in 1940 to parents who ran a sandal shop in Tokyo, Nobuyoshi Araki began pursuing photography from a young age. He entered Chiba University in 1959, where he majored in photography and cinema. After graduating in 1963, he joined Dentsu advertising agency, where he worked as a commercial photographer until 1972. Finding this work very limiting, he began to experiment with more provocative subjects and has since emerged as one of Japan’s most controversial artists.

He has published more than 500 books and has exhibited all over the world. His work is held in many museum collections, including those of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Tate in London, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

One of Nobuyoshi Araki’s 500 Polaroids. Photo from Yoshii Gallery’s Instagram.

About Yoshii Gallery

Founded by Kazuhito Yoshii in 1990, Yoshii Gallery is a modern and contemporary art gallery. The gallery offers important works by 20th century masters and leading contemporary artists. Hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. For more information, please visit Yoshii Gallery’s website.