Thursday, April 3, 2014

Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller

The encounter between two photographers who are united in their radical artistic attitude and their almost insatiable hunger for images as reflections of their personal experience of the world. The elementary interest at the core of their work is the spiritual and physical ambivalence of human existence.

Nobuyoshi Araki, Last by Leica, 2012-2014 © Nobuyoshi Araki

Juergen Teller, Woo Nr. 61, 2013 © Juergen Teller

(Inside Contemporary Art) Araki is an established Master in the photographic art.
Here in Italy we are proud to have a great photographer that followed a similar inspirational path, being fascinated by Japanese shibari (as Araki in many of his works).
He is Hikari Kesho and this is a tribute he made to Araki:

Hikari Kesho, Araki Tribute, 2010

Curators: Gerald Matt in cooperation with Hisako Motoo (eyesencia) and Juergen Teller 

At the initiative of OstLicht Gallery and Peter Coeln in Vienna, the exhibition by Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller brings together two of the most important photographers of our times, showing new works conceived for this joint exhibition and entering into an artistic dialogue. 

The exhibition ARAKI TELLER TELLER ARAKI thus showcases the encounter between two attitudes of extraordinary photographers, who are united in their radical artistic attitude and their almost insatiable hunger for images as reflections of their personal experience of the world. The elementary interest at the core of their work is the spiritual and physical ambivalence of human existence. 

The exhibition is accompanied by an artist’s book co-designed by Araki and Teller. 

Araki shows works from the project he has been pursuing since 2012: Last by Leica. This is a kind of visual diary in which he draws his photographic impressions and ideas together into a touching commentary on his life, artistic work and working method. Young women, proliferating Japanese urban landscapes, rifts in cloud configurations – these all point to his life themes. 

The meaning of the title Last by Leica is twofold: Araki uses the last analogous camera produced by Leica, a Leica M7, for this project. Thus, he understands this series as homage to silver halide photography. On the other hand, Araki’s Last by Leica forms the final installment in a series he began in the 1980s with Life by Leica and continued in 2000 with Love by Leica, a collection of female portraits and nude photographs. After suffering a stroke and losing sight in his right eye, Last by Leica also contains a self-portrait taken at the hospital and images of an electrocardiogram. These are juxtaposed with images from his current series Paradise, depicting dolls and flowers in front of a black backdrop. Here, Araki tries to revive paradise, triving to leave behind the darkness, the sorrow and the shadows of death accompanying his life. Finally, selections from his life’s project of several decades, Someone’s Wife, complete the selection. 

With the works selected for the book, Juergen Teller also proves himself a storyteller. Whether he portraying actors of Berlin's Schaubühne, rendering a woman who is not afraid to show her age for Vivienne Westwood’s spring campaign, presenting the his own nude upper body and those of his colleagues under the title Betriebsausflug, offering us irritatingly beautiful pictures of his private trip to India or showing his idol Araki in an ironic pose – Juergen Teller allows us to participate in his life through his works. In the exhibition, he will juxtapose a new complex of works entitled Woo! with Araki’s Last of Leica series. Woo! was also the title of his show at ICA (London 2013), where he covered the walls of the gallery with his photographs resulting in a huge photo collage on site. Initially planned with proof pages relating to his commercial photography Teller included some more pictures from his twenty-year spanning career. The collage formed hitherto unforeseen relationships across time, which Teller then photographically reassessed as a form of self-reflection and deconstruction. Many of these images will now be shown in Vienna as prints for the first time. 

Accompanying publication: Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller are known for their outstanding publications. For this exhibition, the first artist’s book conceived and designed jointly by Araki and Teller will be published. The volume will be published by the independent publishing house eyesencia, founded by Araki and Hisako Motoo in 1998, which has already published other books by Araki and other photographers, for example Daido Moriyama. The artist’s book assembles more than 300 photographs, including those works shown as part of the exhibition which were previously unpublished, on about 400 pages. In addition, Araki and Teller will each dedicate a text to the other. 
The exhibition of about 150 works is curated by Gerald Matt in cooperation with Hisako Motoo (eyesencia) and Juergen Teller. The exhibition will subsequently be shown in Moscow and Belgrade and presumably in Prague and Warsaw. 

Araki Teller, Teller Araki by Nobuyoshi Araki and Juergen Teller 
408 pages, € 85. Available from 3rd April 2014 in the gallery or online 

Nobuyoshi Araki was born in Minowa, Tokyo, in 1940. He launched his artistic career in 1964 with photographs of children in the city; afterwards Araki photographed his own honeymoon. These photographs were published in the volume Sentimental Journey, which has acquired legend status today. During the 1970s, Araki gradually left behind press and journalistic photography and started to explore the existential questions and abysses of human life instead, turning increasingly towards erotic themes. 
In his photographs, he developed a unique visual handwriting, creating a poetic portrayal of human passion which points beyond Japanese culture. During this time, he also began to publish his photographs in Garo, the avant-garde manga magazine and Shashin Jidai. Araki invented the concept of the “photographic ego”, signifying the intriguing interplay between fiction, fact and desire. Araki, an obsessive photographer, perceives life through and in his pictures and is never seen without a camera. In Japan his photographs were partially censored due to “obscenity”. Sky, flowers, street and family - Arakis subjects are manifold, as well as his ways of challenging photography, for example through scratching positive film and Arakinema (Araki + cinema). 

Juergen Teller is one of the stars of contemporary photography. Born in Franconia in 1964, he made a name for himself as the photographer of the grunge movement in London early on, producing pictures of musicians like Kurt Cobain and magazine covers. During the 1990s he revolutionized art and fashion photography with distinctive images dealing with the fragmentary identities and surfaces of the fashion world and models. With his new and unique approach to photography, he enjoyed success in magazines such as Vogue, The Face and ID. Breaking the codes of beauty and fashion, his images of models like Kate Moss and Kristen McMenamy became icons. His works question our society’s cult of beauty; consciously showing physical flaws, his visual idiom satirizes the need of our times for perfection. Works like his Naked on the Football Field or his video World Cup Final are sensitive declarations in favor of intimacy and everyday life. Like Araki, Teller has long explored existential issues of physical existence and sexuality, testing how close photography can get to reality – indeed, how painfully close it can get to truth. 

Image: Juergen Teller, Woo Nr. 237, 2013 

Press Contact: 
Stefan Musil +43 676 9316665 

Opening of the exhibition on Thursday, April 3rd, 2014, 7 pm. 
Juergen Teller will be present. 

OstLicht. Galerie für Fotografie 
Absberggasse 27, 1100 Wien Austria 
Opening hours: Wed–Sun 12–6 pm, public holidays: 12–6 pm and by appointment

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