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Westlicht : Nobuyoshi Araki : Arakiss


Westlicht shows  Nobuyoshi Araki‘s latest works and the extensive photobook oeuvre of the exceptional japanese artist.

 Nobuyoshi Araki (*1940) is one of the most influential contemporary Japanese artists. His work attracts attention far beyond the classical photographic public, and time and again it is also a source of controversy.

Exclusively and for the first time, WestLicht and OstLicht will show photographs from Araki’s latest series Paradise, created in 2020. The large-format still lifes, in which Araki repeately picks up motifs from past creative periods, are placed in the context of his publications and works from six decades.

In both exhibitions, ARAKISS shows the development of Araki’s work over a period of more than 50 years, from his first photographs to the famous Sentimental Journey series and his much-discussed bondage photographs to his latest project. With his erotic depictions, Araki drew on the centuries-old Japanese tradition of the shunga – a fine selection of these explicit woodblock prints from the Diethard Leopold Collection will provide a comparative view with Araki’s photography.

The exhibitions were conceived in close cooperation with the Tokyo-based artist, who has been a friend of the house and Peter Coeln since his first WestLicht exhibition in 2006. “I am delighted that in this year’s anniversary year we are able to dedicate this comprehensive show of works to such an important, exceptional artist and close friend of our house,” says Coeln, whose photography venue, founded in 2001, is celebrating its twentieth birthday this year.

The common thread of the exhibition is Araki’s books, which occupy a central role in his oeuvre. Many of his masterpieces are coveted collector’s items today and impressively illustrate how the medium of photography can find its congenial complement in the medium of books. With the presentation of more than 300 volumes from the OstLicht Collection, the exhibition is the most comprehensive retrospective to date of this oeuvre, which is unique in its scope and complexity.

In order to do justice to Araki’s tireless artistic drive, ARAKISS has been conceived as a double exhibition. Parallel to the WestLicht exhibition, OstLicht Gallery will provide a further insight into Araki’s cosmos.

The monumental series Kinbaku Shamaki, an eight-metre-long tableau of 53 nude photographs painted over with acrylic, will also be on view. This is Araki’s largest work and, like most of the exhibits on display, is owned by the OstLicht Collection.

The exhibitions are curated by Hisako Motoo, who has worked closely with Araki in Tokyo for thirty years, Fabian Knierim and Michael Kollmann and will remain open until summer 2021.



PART I – WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie

PART II – OstLicht. Galerie für Fotografie


WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie

Westbahnstraße 40

A-1070 Vienna

T +43 (0)1 522 66 36 60

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