Human Nature

In his photographs, Daikichi Amano (b.1973 in Japan), enfant terrible of Hokusai, does not shun even the most impossible types of embraces.

In his monstrous orgies—elaborate and disturbingly sensual encounters of otherworldly beauty that flirts with the abject—angelfaced women frolic with snakes and earthworms, elegantly contorted and interlaced eels slipping into every orifice of the human body. Live toads are sucked-on gluttonously, cockroaches, larvae and other invertebrates embrace, interweave, absorb and suck on each other until they lock into a hybrid body moving as one under the waves of a new kind of irresistible sensuality.

Each animal possesses its own secret beauty – Amano has made it his calling to reveal their graces: smooth undulating eels, shiny and transparent octopuses arranged in precious and enthralling compositions. Despite being disturbing to the point of nausea, Daikichi Amano’s works are celebrated internationally. He composes new kinds of tableaux with the bodies of actresses, animals and insects, translates his nightmares and visions into frozen images, portraits of an almost surreal beauty.

Amano pursues this photographic enquiry into the bizarre realms of erotic imagination with an obsessive and perfectionist eye for detail, inspired by the Dutch still-lives painters as well as Japanese mythology and the great Ukiyo-E woodcut masters of the Edo period and in particular the erotic Shunga prints.

Textures, surfaces and bodies weave themselves into abstract compositions in his photographs, with flesh, scales and skin taking on the colours of jewels. The abject becomes sublime. This is Amano’s great talent: to reevaluate death not as sterile horror, but as an aesthetic resurrection. He takes up the ancient idea of beauty as ineluctably doomed to wilt, condemned to eventually disappear and thereby aligns himself as an artist in a thousand-year-old poetic tradition that sings of all things fleeting and ephemeral.

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