Araki in Siena: “Sensei” is born!

Foto Araki. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

“Japanese model” di Beatrice Brandini

From June 21 to September 30, Siena, at the museum complex of Santa Maria della Scala, hosts an unmissable exhibition of the master Nobuyoshi Araki: Effetto Araki. The exhibition, organized by the Santa Maria della Scala with the support of Opera-Civita, is curated by Filippo Maggia.


Satchin an His Brother Mabo” (1963 – 1965). “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

“Sentimental night in Kyoto” 1972.  “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala


Nudes.  “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

In a unique setting in the world, that of Piazza Duomo in Siena, the exhibition brings together 2200 works that Filippo Maggia has selected in 50 years of the artist’s activity, retracing his career from his first works, such as those of 1963 in the series “Subway – Love “ or “Autumn in Tokyo “ (1973), shots made specifically for this exhibition, such as the “Araki’s Paradise“ collection.

Foto Araki. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

Many series have never been presented in Italy and in Europe. The importance of this retrospective is precisely its originality, an artistic and human journey of this great master of photography.


Flowers. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

I particularly appreciated this exhibition because it reveals a more intimate and emotional Araki than the most known and discussed Araki, that is the one known to the general public especially for the nudes of Japanese women tied up according to the kinbaku technique, Japanese bondage. It is an exhibition that reveals the master Araki in its totality and complexity, that of an artist who has dedicated his whole life to photography, unifying private and public life in honor of his great passion, experiencing this artistic expression as a necessity.


“Araki’s Paradise, 2019. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

View of the “Araki Effect” exhibition. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

It starts with “Satchin an his brother Mabo” (1963 – 1965) two neighboring boys of Araki, a sort of initiation to photography by a very young Araki. “Subway of Love”, photographs taken (stolen) in the Tokyo subway, between 1963 and 1972.

“Sentimental night in Kyoto”, also from 1972, diary of a romantic night in Kyoto experienced with his beloved wife Yoko. Araki has here re-photographed the negatives we see as positive prints. A very evocative series that reveals its protagonists, wrapping them in an aura of mystery.


Foto Araki. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

“Gloves” 2019.  “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

Polaroid  “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

“Sentimental Journey”, diary of Araki and Yoko’s honeymoon; from the words of the curator of the exhibition Filippo Maggia, perhaps the highest and most intense point ever reached in contemporary photography. An exciting and intimate moment of their married life. “Sentimental Journey” is a symbol of my love … love was the starting point of my activity as a photographer .. “ This is how Araki writes in the introduction of the Sentimental Journey volume. And this is the secret that makes his photographs unique. His shots are imbued with love, they are passionate, alive, pulsating. An attitude that makes it special and humanizes it, in an increasingly sterile and commercial world, even when it comes to art.

“Sentimental Journey” . “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala 


Press conference of the exhibition “Effetto Araki. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala. The mayor of Siena Luigi De Mossi and Filippo Maggia

Tokyo is often the ideal scenario for Araki, the twilight light of the city, which the artist seeks for his whole life, his hidden and lesser-known parts, “… a place that for me is like a den, a mother that protects me “. Araki

The photos dedicated to the art of kinbaku are only a small excerpt from his long production, very precious because they are marked by the artist himself, and go from the first domestic settings, almost naive, to those set in large international hotels.


Flowers. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

Panorama from one of the windows of Santa Maria della Scala

Among the most beautiful works are those dedicated to flowers, gigantic and extraordinary flowers in their maximum expression, a celebration of beauty just before the decay process begins.

Foto Araki. “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

“Death Reality” 1997.  “Effetto Araki”. Siena, Santa Maria della Scala

Also interesting is the installation of hundreds of Polaroids representing “Gloves” white gloves, the gloves that the photographer uses when he shoots, a way to emphasize the fragility, and at the same time poetry, between the photographer and his precious instrument.

Master Araki

I have some pictures of Araki and I regret very much not having bought more in the past; they are contemplative but also seductive, intimate and provocative, strong and delicate, melancholy and vital.  I believe that this dualism is the true essence of Araki. An extraordinarily sensitive artist.



Sketches Araki’s mood by Beatrice Brandini

A beautiful exhibition, not to be missed.

Good live everyone!





Un commento su “Araki in Siena: “Sensei” is born!

  1. I didn’t like ARAKI because for my point of view is too erotic and penalizing towards women. But you made it delicate and poetic.

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