Museum of Sex, Hajime Kinoko, Kinbaku, Shibari, NYC, Japan, The Incomplete Araki, Nobuyoshi Araki, erotic art, rope binding, Japanese art, Heavensake

Hajime Kinoko: Kinbaku Performances at Museum of Sex 🗓 🗺

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Hajime Kinoko: Kinbaku Performances

Tuesday, July 17 and Thursday, July 19 at 8:00 p.m. (Performance starts at 8:30p.m.)

Museum of Sex – 233 Fifth Avenue (at 27th Street)

Admission: $20 (Includes complimentary tasting of Heavensake)

Shibari (縛り) is a Japanese word that literally means “decoratively tied,” and Kinbaku-bi (緊縛美) is an ancient, erotic Japanese art form, which translates literally as “the beauty of tight binding.” The Museum of Sex presents two original live Shibari performances by famous contemporary Kinbaku master Hajime Kinoko and his model Aimi Feti for two nights next week.

With generous support by Heavensake, this special program is in conjunction with the Museum of Sex’s current exhibition The Incomplete Araki: Sex, Life, and Death in the Work of Nobuyoshi Araki, on view through August 31.

Hajime Kinoko is Japan’s leading rope artist, renowned for his innovative approach to the art of Shibari for the past twenty years. He uses rope to create abstract installations, surreal structures within nature, and reinterprets Japanese pop culture within the context of rope binding. Working with models, landscapes, inanimate objects, and pop culture icons, Kinoko always surprises viewers with humor, sensitivity, and an unparalleled sense of aesthetics. His work presents a transformation of an ancient art form often seen as dark and obscene. He has invented various performance styles that act as a gateway for audiences to discover the beauty of Shibari and the profound emotion that can be experienced from knot tying. Based in Tokyo, Kinoko travels the world performing and teaching Shibari, producing large-scale rope art installations.

Museum of Sex, Hajime Kinoko, Kinbaku, Shibari, NYC, Japan, The Incomplete Araki, Nobuyoshi Araki, erotic art, rope binding, Japanese art, Heavensake

The Incomplete Araki is co-curated by Maggie Mustard, a Riggio Fellow in Art History and expert on Post-War Japanese Photography, alongside Mark Snyder, Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Sex, with an immersive installation entrance by the artist Midori.

Nobuyoshi Araki was born in Tokyo in 1940. In 1959, he enrolled at Chiba University, where he majored in photography and filmmaking. Upon graduation, Araki joined the Dentsu advertising agency, where he met his wife Yōko Aoki. Araki and Yōko married in 1971, and their relationship would inspire some of Araki’s most influential photography, including Araki’s seminal photobook Sentimental Journey (1971). Araki’s artistic career has now spanned nearly half a century, and his subjects range from the shockingly intimate details of everyday life to elaborately staged erotica, exploring the intersection of love, death, and sex in ways that have made him a controversial and celebrated figure in the world of photography. To date, he has published more than 500 photobooks, and he has been the focus of hundreds of solo exhibitions worldwide.

The exhibition examines Araki’s career through the themes and conversations that are inseparable from his photographic production and practice. Throughout the exhibition, Araki’s work is accompanied by the personal perspectives of his collaborators, muses, critics, fans, and fellow photographers. Araki is first introduced through the idea of controversy: What has made his work infamous, reviled, and adored in both Japan and in global art communities? His kinbaku-bi (緊縛美Japanese rope bondage) photographs are positioned as fraught images that help to explain the debate around pornography and art, eroticism, intimacy, sexism, and the potential fetishization of East Asian women in art. These conversations lead to questions about Araki’s practice, and the performance of his identity within his own photography, where the exhibition examines the role of the “I-novel” (私小説 shishōsetsu) and the presence of the artist in photographic work. The exhibition further identifies the themes and ways of making that are so prevalent within Araki’s work that they take on the feeling of the obsessed: Sources of inspiration like kinbaku-bi and Japanese art historical forms like Ukiyoe; the idea of “sentimentality”; Araki’s deeply loving marriage with his wife, Yōko, and her tragic early death from ovarian cancer; the buzzing, lustful nightlife of the Tokyo underbelly; and the inescapable sense in Araki’s work that life, love, and sex are always tinged by an inevitable mortality.

In addition, all of Araki’s photographic work featured in the exhibition is further supported by a massive interactive installation of his hundreds of photobooks—placing at the heart of the show a conversation about the importance of dissemination, media, and form.

For more information about the exhibition and to purchase tickets to Hajime Kinoko’s Kinbaku performances, please visit MoSEX’s website.

Featured photo ©Hajime Kinoko