Emi Anrakujis unsettling self-portraits and other subjects have earned her a growing recognition in her home country, and we are pleased to present her first monograph to be published outside of Japan. The artist represents herself as an alchemist of images and a catalyst for daydreams and desires. The vignettes of jigsaw puzzle-like shots of herself and others blur the boundaries between documentary and staged photography. Posing naked, clothed, or partially dressed, Anrakuji takes a uniquely obsessive interest in her own body. Her legs, arms, hands, toes, lips and hair create arresting compositions and erotic ambience. When she focuses on the opposite sex, it results in equally surprising elaborations on the male anatomy. This obsession with the human body at its most intimate is a result, in part, from her long periods spent hospitalized: after graduating from art school in Tokyo in the mid-1980s, Anrakuji suffered a cerebral tumor that prevented her from making art for more than a decade. During her gradual recovery, she began to make block prints, then photographs. Emi Anrakuji is this years winner of the prestigious New Photographer Award at the Higashikawa Photography Prize.
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