tokyo

Nobuyoshi Araki

Taka Ishii Gallery

Two years ago Nobuyoshi Araki, then almost seventy and diagnosed with cancer, completed what he called his “posthumous” cycle: a series of black-and-white photographs onto which he brushed kanji characters meaning “2THESKY, my Ender”—his word-and-image presentiment of death. Araki’s most recent show, “Koki No Shashin: Photographs of a Seventy-Year-Old,” also evoked death, but taken together, the ten new series on view (all 2010) offered a more oblique and conflicted reflection.

“Chiro” documents the demise of Araki’s beloved cat, a necessarily impermanent aide-mémoire and a mental link of sorts to his wife, Yoko, who passed away from cancer in 1990. The heartrending images of Chiro’s final days capture the elderly animal sauntering unsteadily in mellow spring sunlight, resting (dying?) on a soft pad fitted with a pillow and a blanket, then lying lifeless, her emaciated body shown from above

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