Araki enfin, l’homme qui ne vécut que pour aimer
With his naked women shamelessly offered, that one would easily classify in pornography rather than in eroticism, photographer Araki smacks of heresy. Behind his obsession with woman’s sex we can find an intimate wound (his wife’s death) or old roots (« I took my first photograph by turning around as soon as I came out of my mother’s womb », he is used to saying). The character - born in 1940 in Tokyo - is in all cases surprising, he who started in advertising, then made a go at social photography with shots of children in the low-income districts before becoming world famous with his series Tokyo Lucky Hole. This distant biography, which refers randomly at Japanese haikus and Mishima, Roland Barthes, de Sica and Andy Warhol, explains why Araki produced a « Self-portrait in the shape of a breadboard». And many other things… Illustrated – and not only with crude photographs – the work is an eccentric introduction to a marathon work: various tens of thousands of shots, which had already filled 20 volumes when published in 1996.
• Araki enfin, l’homme qui ne vécut que pour aimer by Philippe Forest, Gallimard, collection Art et artistes, 2008, 160 p., 25 €, ISBN : 978-2-07-012025-3
Review published in the newsletter #102 - from 25 September 2008 to 1 October 2008