Araki Nobuyoshi (b. 1940)
From the series Bondages
Japan, 1998
Photograph; RC gloss print
Copyright: Nobuyoshi Araki
Courtesy of the artist and Yoshiko Isshiki Office, Tokyo

’…the absolute absence of burden causes man to be lighter than air, to soar into heights, take leave of the earth and his earthly being, and become only half real, his movements as free as they are insignificant. What then shall we choose? Weight or lightness?’

-Milan Kundera (b. 1929), The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984)

Araki’s photographs of a model suspended in mid-air do not attempt to mimic a sense of weightlessness. Her obvious discomfort and helplessness infuse the image with an intense sense of angst. In reality, the model is only suspended for up to a few minutes, and when she can no longer continue, Araki’s assistants lower her to the ground and release her.