The »mame-otoko« (bean man) is a historical element of shunga that first appeared as a stylistic device in the genre in 1712. It is the figure of a small, silent observer who witnesses the erotic scenes in the picture.
The bean man is said to be a citizen of Edo (today's Tokyo) who wants to study the sexual life there in detail. To do so, he receives a miracle pill from the god of love that makes him immortal and young, but also shrinks him to the size of a bean. And so he wanders about observing the love life of Japan.
Araki resurrects the motif of the »mame-otoko« in the photographic present by staging himself as such in his photographs - as in this image, in which he deliberately places himself in the corner as a silent observer.
The print is part of the two-venue exhibition ARAKISS in cooperation with WestLicht. Museum for Photography, from 19.05. to 01.08.2021. It can be dispatched only after the exhibition.
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Gelatin silver print on baryta, print date: early 2000s
Bildmaße 32,1 x 40,3 cm (32,1 x 40,3 inch)
Objektmaße 35,5 x 42,9 cm (35,5 x 42,9 inch)
Montage, Rahmen Archival mat board 50 x 60 cm
Double weight paper, semi-matte surface
Signed by the photographer in pencil on the reverse
Nobuyoshi Araki, Araki. Tokyo Lucky Hole, Taschen: Cologne 1997; Nobuyoshi Araki, Self-Life-Death, London: Phaidon 2005, p. 430/31.
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