"Marvelous Tales of Black Ink brings Araki's language of photography and his games with words together into the same frame. The Kanji (Japanese logographic characters) painted directly and with equal intensity onto both the surfaces of explicit nudes and floral compositions raise the stakes of the symbolic associations between flowers and sexuality beyond even that proposed by Georges Bataille in his classic essay "The Language of Flowers". And although the calligraphic games that Araki plays tend often towards sexuality, they do so only in the most extraordinarily imaginative and intellectually sophisticated ways. These are word-games that would make Marcel Duchamp proud, even if they might also make him blush..."
Extract from text by Simon Baker
Nobuyoshi Araki (Japanese, b. 1940) studied film and photography at Chilba University and worked in advertising before devoting himself to photography in the early 1970s. He is best known for his photographs of women contorted by a form of Japanese bondage called Kinbaku. Described as violent, pornographic and erotic these photographs draw on 17th-century Japanese woodblock prints called Shunga, also known for their erotic content.