Love Dream - Love Nothing

Nobuyoshi Araki

Well-known and debated around the world for his provocative, unsettling portraits of Japanese women, often restrained using the rope bondage technique, Nobuyoshi Araki is a unique personage in contemporary photography. He taps into his existence – a life that does not distinguish between private, public and professional realms – as the source that daily inspires his artistic creations.

Exploration of the “beauty that abides in the infinitely small space that lies between life and death,” in that instant in which beauty celebrates itself right before the inevitable process of decay begins is, as the author reminds us, a recurring theme in Araki’s poetry.

Fondazione Bisazza hosted a Nobuyoshi Araki solo show in September 2017. On display for the first time, alongside a selection of works produced by the Japanese photographer during his lengthy career, is a series of as yet unshown photographs made specifically for Bisazza by Araki in 2009.
Around that time, Fondazione President Piero Bisazza, envisioned dedicating a permanent room to the Japanese master, to be staged in agreement with the artist and mounted alongside the existing rooms with works by famous architects and designers. During a subsequent visit to Japan, Piero Bisazza met with Araki in Tokyo and together they designed the now-completed room – the only permanent installation of works by Nobuyoshi Araki in the world.
It replicates a private room at the elegant Rouge Bar nightclub in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, where Araki typically entertains after his photo shoots. The Vicenza version reflects a slightly different image – two private rooms that mirror each other. With an oval settee and table in the center, the first room reinterprets the Tokyo original, with posters and bills for Araki shows leaning against the interior walls.
The second is designed like a bookstore, in tribute to the artist’s prolific production of books, monographs and Araki show catalogues – 500 and counting – published around the world in more than 50 years of his career. Also on display here are small dinosaur figurines, similar to the ones Araki still uses in styling many of his compositions.

In addition to photos taken by Araki for Bisazza, the walls are also hung with photographs purchased by Fondazione and three new works commissioned for the installation: three calligraphies by Araki himself, executed in the traditional Japanese “shodō” technique. The names given by Araki to these calligraphies reflect his poetic sensibilities, which tend to revolve around his love of the world of women and the fine line between life and death, beauty and decadence, white and black: Fanatismo Femminile (female fanaticism); Lo Spirito della Fioritura (spirit of blossoming); Amore-Sogno (love-dream); Amore-Nulla (love-nothing).

The permanent room dedicated to Nobuyoshi Araki was curated by Filippo Maggia for Fondazione Bisazza.


When I tie up women, I tell them:
I’m binding your heart, not your body.

Nobuyoshi Araki