Araki, erotic master and one of Japan’s most prevalent visual documentarians, known for a graphic subversion of his artistic ancestry, has released a new book and coinciding exhibition Love on the Left Eye.
The title refers to photographer Ed van der Elsken’s long-time out of print Love on the Left Bank, which Araki is quoted to have seen in his twenties, prompting a series of women in poses inspired by the book, a visual narrative following the story of a bohemian living in Paris, one of the first of its kind to record the salacious and debauched world of European youth culture.
Following the partial loss of sight last year, the series shows a selection of images taken using his now solely functioning left eye. Taking his signature subject matter, delicate floral still lifes and intimate shots of binding debauchery, the provocateur masked the right side of each negative with black marker and developed each image as a representation of his new personal, and permanent, visual experience, transforming a would-be-devastating malady into a kind of artistic rebirth. “Death comes towards us all, you know,” he says. “I don’t want to approach it myself, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s coming. You just have to laugh it off.”
The exhibition is on show at Tokyo’s Taka Ishii gallery until June 21st.