Nobuyoshi Araki
ABCD


March 6 - April 26, 2003

Andrew Roth is pleased to present an exhibition of vintage black-and-white photographs by Nobuyoshi Araki.

On view will be 30 vintage black-and-white prints made by Araki in the early ’70s. “ABCD” refers to four notebooks lettered thus that house the images presented. Mounted in the four over-size notebooks are enlarged contact prints from 94 rolls of film; each is numbered and sequenced in chronological order. From the several thousand images shot in 1971-72, Araki selected 48 and enlarged them to 16 by 13 inches. On the first page of notebook A, Araki states:

“The World As I See It Beginning on November 30, 1971 or Physiological Space

The Evolution of Events:
In 1970 the vagina became landscape
In 1972 there is intercourse with the landscape;
I penetrate the landscape
I come into the landscape
I rape the landscape
I develop it with hot semen (developer)”

In fact, the developer used to develop these negatives was overheated, causing the emulsion to reticulate and break apart in random fashion. The physical, degenerative effect on the images lends itself to existential interpretation as if they had survived the blast. The reservoir of images is extracted from everyday life and in essence chronicles Araki’s experience. There is little epiphany in the interpretation of subject matter, shifting from generic urban landscape to sexual acts. The marriage of the mundane and the erotic is at the core of Araki’s canon and here, in 1972, he is laying the conceptual foundation for all future work.