Nobuyoshi Araki's 'Flower Rondeau' series takes its name from a form of medieval French musical poetry, which the artist channels through his tightly cropped, lustrous compositions [...] Like his contemporary Robert Mapplethorpe, Araki's flower photographs demonstrate the powerful symbolism of nature and comment on our own undeniable fears and instincts.
In relation to these works, Araki wrote: “Flowers become more enriched with life as they approach their death. The most beautiful moment is just before they perish. When coming close to them, one is enraptured with sexual spirituality and I can hear the Flower Rondeau.”
In many of his signature compositions, Araki juxtaposes ikebana flower arrangements and kinbaku bondage performances, appropriating conventions taken from Japan’s aesthetic history to sensationalist effect. Araki’s mastery of dramatic - and specifically erotic - tension creates unique and challenging works of contrast. Amongst the first artists to flaunt Japan’s obscenity prohibitions against showing pubic hair, Araki has refused to give in to public consternation or even interventions staged by the police.
Nobuyoshi Araki: Self. Life. Death.,
2005, Phaidon Press