EMI ANRAKUJI’S 1800 MILLIMETRE
By Naomi Barling
Emi Anrakuji presents herself as an experimenter of images and a facilitator of daydreams and desires. She blurs the lines between documentary and staged photography with collections of images of herself and others posing naked, clothed, or partially dressed. Anrakuji’s new exhibition 1800 Millimètre at Miyako Yoshinaga Art Prospects features the artist’s five color images and seventeen gelatin silver prints.
Anrakuji has a uniquely obsessive interest in her own body. Her legs, arms, toes, lips and hair create unusual compositions that always have an underlying sexuality. Anrakuji’s obsession with the body started after graduating from art school in Tokyo in the mid-1980s when she suffered a cerebral tumor that prevented her from making art as she spent long periods of time in hospital. During her slow recovery, she began to make block prints and take pictures. The illness left her blind in one eye and with severely limited vision in the other. This condition has pushed Anrakuji to discover a new way of seeing, and she now uses the camera as her eyes. Through the viewfinder, Anrakuji has been able to envision a mesmerizing universe, allowing her to escape from her limited physical environment.
The images features Anrakuji’s bare body distorted in a shadowy room. The grainy details leave her identity deliberately mysterious. Her strange and awkward gestures combined with her long hair peaking spontaneously from the top of the images and moving over her torso creates a seductive atmosphere that feels very personal. Taken in her usual zoom and high-contrast black-and-white finish it makes the viewer feel as an intruder.
1800 Millimètre is on view from April 23, 2015 to May 30, 2015 at Miyako Yoshinaga Art Prospects in Chelsea.