We have therefore grown complacent and bored with our own imaginings. At 66 Orchard, Shin Gallery is providing a new conversation that explores the universality of these images, bringing back the deliciously unsettling feeling of confronting what takes place behind closed doors.
In black and white photography, the Actionist-based work of Rudolf Schwarzkogler meets the deliberately casual style of Nobuyoshi Araki in an open relationship between the former’s clinically grotesque images and the latter’s candidly erotic ones. Araki’s muses alleviate the pain and sexual frustrations of Schwarzkogler clients, reaching a torridly modern love affair based upon a foundation of economic value. On the precipice of trauma and eroticism, these two worlds merge into one.
As their artworks collide, the subject of Modernization manifests. In an ever-changing landscape, where the boundaries of land and sea are shrinking, cultural collisions are bound to occur. Austrian Schwarzkogler and the Japanese Araki have one crucial aspect connecting them—both born in 1940, they grew up during a period of change and growth. Schwarzkogler, intermittent in the Viennese actionist movement of the 1960’s, uses “action art” to display the human body in some of its most violent forms. The movement, known for its disturbed sexual humor, creates a natural complement to Araki’s work. Araki’s attention to the natural state of the subject provides new context for what it means to be Japanese in an ever Westernizing world.
The juxtaposition of their work allows for and questions the shame that often accompanies curiosity, while tying in the freedom of embracing those innermost desires, which may be acted upon in a genuine “spa.” Mirrored by the unapologetic exploration of the two artists, the installation is thus able to present the most fundamental features of human nature through allusions to the oldest profession around in a refreshingly creative way.