The ingenious Nobuyoshi Araki Reenactments : Manbo Key, transgression of queer 獨創的再現荒木經惟:登曼波的酷兒踰越世界 part2

by astrojoke

Neurasthenia gave Ren Hang a reason to rely on photography, art and a projection on subtle feelings that always passively drove him to transgress the stereotype and freely did Epilepsy.  He enjoyed staying in his room and exploring different masterpieces online. Noise and outdoors made him nervous, always abruptly blacking out in the subway. In the documentary <I have got a little problem> 2017 by Xi-ming Zhang, Ren Hang’s subtle feeling in the order of daily life is more intense and speedy. His innate psychological issue, the censorship as always in Beijing is the drive of his photography. “My photos have nothing to do with politics. They are deeply related to China and Chinese culture.”He told TASCHEN publisher “I don’t deem my work as something forbidden because I seldom consider cultural and political backgrounds. I am not willing to break through something. Just doing something I think is right.” Thus, the “subtle” feeling in which this world makes him anxious and the real , holistic political status quo of China was excluded deliberately by Ren Hang himself. He was always under a suffocating tyranny but he didn't confess it, or ignore the transgression theory that he must base on a tempting, factual restriction of something seemingly should not be limited all the time. He blamed it on himself, Neurasthenia as an excuse to indulge in an art world constructed by other artists but not him. In  <I have got a little problem>,Ren always claimed “When all of us don't talk about freedom, then this is freedom.” “ Naked and taking those being called illegal, immoral, abnormal sex photos are just normal. I am using pornography and sex as a tool to express that those things are normal.” He was trying his best to deny, overlook, and cover the actual unfair censorship everywhere in China. That’s why his subtle sentiment is unsound ,indifferent and paradoxical . 

 Unlike Manbo and Araki, they are really dealing and facing the targets equally. Trying their best to reenact their selective targets in different styles in different timelines. They recognize and are aware of the truth that the wife is dead, the father is mysteriously troublesome but I have deep feelings for them so I will manifest them equally with some of my subjective spray on it to make it colorful and poetic. They can see through their own context , sometimes jump out of their routine, the subtle , individual feeling that is produced by routine and get into the context of their targets.Ren Hang was incapable to do that as his subtle sentiment is unsound and decontextualized. Brought with his naive notion that merely using a subject itself to disobey the subject itself( his conceptual sex vs stereotypical sex), his whole works are eventually limited and haunted by the thing he detest most:hegemonic and symbolic sex.  How could he wholeheartedly pursue the utilization of sex to the extent of reenactment? It is chaotic and nonsense to put an equal mark with the abrupt use of sex concept and total reenactment (duplication) in pic 3,4 ,5. Ren never kept the consistency of his mentality , passion on what he truly felt subtly from his targets: Chinese culture, China , intimate friends, utopia without censorship. That’s why it is concluded that he had nothing to do with transgression, creativity, reenactment and more, vitality and concept of himself and his works.The subtle feeling also being wasted in his prolonged life.Sadly He is not belong to passive or active creator also, he is just an unpalatable example I try to show readers that not to be faked by his unsound life and works, and interpreted him as some art model waiting to be criticized. 

  Inside the photo album Ren Hang 2021 TASCHEN, the words that described Ren by editor Dian Hanson & a paper quote gift both highlight Ren’s emotional wish to change the way people deem sex and how they deem themselves. the sharp red paper:”People come into this world naked and I consider naked bodies to be people’s original, authentic look. I feel the real existence of people through their naked bodies.”(pic 6) Dian: “One of his models explained : ‘to break through the social taboo (of nudity) for the sake of natural beauty.’ “ Ren always makes a statement of showing people an authentic look of nude, the natural. However, there are many unnatural symbols: coca cola on a dick, sunflower beside dick pouring into it, phone wire inside pussy, dicks in red etc. They can be deemed as merely unnatural stuff invading into natural bodies or for the personal predilections of Ren. “ Why are the dicks in your works always big?” Ren: “ I myself find big penises more beautiful.” If there is just chaotic and random fun, we can think if there any correlation with natural beauty and liberation. So is the first place of subtle feeling of art revolution, uncertainty of social atmosphere, his “mental illness” still make sense, if all Ren’s works disregard what he talked about, what he is presenting? Speaking of his real deeds, we should notice his success in brought up the “first rule” of “I photography”: “Through an intimate and special relationship with targets( who you are going to take photo with,or make art with), the work will be sincere and beautiful as the genuine targets will be manifested naturally.” This is also apparent in Ren’s working process. He spoke in <I have got a little problem>: I seldom ask a stranger to take photos plus I seldom see a stranger that is suitable for me. There must be sentiment in the work, even if it is just a little.”(pic 7,8,9)  We all know, or maybe because I mentioned, Araki is Ren and Manbo big inspiration, He is one of the pioneers of advocating the intimacy rule between targets and photographers. So in the next scene, also the last scene in which we can see the spotlight shining on “ intimacy” , drives Manbo , Araki and Ren become a transgression queer in their own thoughts or others’ eyes.

(pic 3 ,4 by Ren Hang , Robert Farber)
(pic 3 ,4 by Ren Hang , Robert Farber)
(pic 5 : left McGinley , right Ren Hang)
(pic 6: red note from Ren Hang 2021 TASCHEN, owned by ASTROJOKE)
(pic 7,8,9: <I have got a little problem>.2017. by Xi-ming Zhang. Screenshot by ASTROJOKE via Giloo)
(pic 10:登曼波於2022年5月的「在地實驗計劃論壇」中分享的創作心得。)

Scene 2- the secret of being a transgression of queer: intimacy

It is also determined by intimacy when we are philosophically and “literally” speaking. 

I drink from your slit

And I spread your naked legs

I open them like a hook 

Where I read what kills me.(cited from Hollier 157)

 George Bataille did transgressive writing like other surrealists. It is also a kind of écriture corporelle (12) which critics like to categorized. This kind of writing can resort to Marquis de Sade,who is the pioneer using erotism as a starting point trailblaze and transgression stereotypes and social norms by different ways like eating Cantharidin candies with prostitutes to enjoy sadism, doing handjobs in front of mother’s grave. This kind of transgression is more than giving a new reading of the body or overthrowing a traditional culture or fatal knowledge. Through the process of transgression, the words we intertwined with sexual pleasure, impulse and fantasy of specific objects, the touchable words with sands like a soft lip to one conversation(13), are all due to the existence of an object that is close to us physically or psychologically. In other words, we must be intimate with someone, something, related to it/him/her/they, the motivation drives us directly to write, capture, record, draw, touch them. Intimacy at the same time renders subtle & ambiguous feelings to outsiders and insiders. Araki’s a string of Yoko’s intimate photos in <Sentimental Journey>(pic11) like the blowjob to Araki reflects a secret and desirable eyes to the audience, but to Araki, it may be something warm, horny, sore or bittersweet. This could be one of the charming elements that intimacy manifestations can provide but not a computer.Yoko and Araki had undergone a long trip. the tired and vulnerable gesture curled up on the boat is Yoko, like a baby curled up in the womb on a starry night, returning to an original primitive state. All these things seem trivial and ordinary in the eyes of others, or maybe something dirty , weird, abnormal? His attitude towards sex in his works is the attitude towards nudity which is natural.He never treats the body or any sexual, intimate interactions as cringe or play to the galleries,not even a tool or sign like Ren Hang to tell audiences that I am going to break the rules. A fat woman, a woman in black, an old woman,housewife, female student, prostitutes. There are no exceptions of women but all walks of life. Araki has a fondness for "female nudity", female, like he mentioned “the most genuine and primal art comes from vulva.” He does not reject any kind of object, and has the courage to try to establish relationships with women to learn more about their bodies. In "Sentimental Journey", Araki focuses on Yoko's nudity in various spaces, and it happens that through the different states of nudity, Yoko is under different emotions and raw states. The finished state( their natural state) of his objects in photography is because he is inside the body of the object. He, camera woman are having “3P”, a collective work.They as one and reflect what their relationship really is. Araki never switches the lens. It is part of the camera, part of his body. If we realize the lens, what is inside us, we notice ourselves. But if we are intimate with ourselves , doing ourselves, taking photos, we wont realize the camera, so the lens. As we are already into the camera. Araki will move his own body forwards or backwards to approach targets. To him, photography and art must connect his body.When he captures and approaches targets,he focuses on how to communicate with targets like telling her how the way she is beautiful by his whole body standing in front , close to the targets. When Araki saw three old ladies with a toddler, he felt bliss. Then, he focused on saying hello and expressed his gratitude , at the same time put his camera up to his eyes, capture. This whole smooth gesture without the consideration of composition, as when we start considering how to determine a whole picture, we hesitate in putting three people in or two people in or also include the tree. We subconsciously project our own reading.Start the own editing in a moment , make a humane decision in impulse.In Araki’s eyes, impulse , the first reaction wont contain subjective motive and bias, the more you do, you think twice, it includes more personal preferences. His intimacy and bonding with women are built up by his fast, determined, a flash of jump in, jump out, immediate , a dot to dot conversation,” penis moving in and out.” The queerness of Araki is his trailblazing intimacy with women and other targets as you like, the willingness and wonder of connecting art and life with love , passion and genuine unity.  It is not like the 1950s new wave photographic association VIVO with Narahara Ikkō and 細江英公..and more(14) that peeking at the bliss, the object that you are fascinated with, wanna have sex with in a distance, just using symbols , compositions, unnatural additions like a knife to plug in , chop the targets you wanted to touch and get inside it (pic 12). Putting object in a deliberate corner with the most area of chaotic imprint, what do you want to tell? The desirable girl is now gloomy? Don't tell me you are so nice that helping her to express her feelings! If you want to make love with her just get close to her face! The way of having direct feeling , develop and express intimacy to the lovable target who is the one you gonna connect with their whole soul and body, teaches Ren Hang and Manbo Key to transgress Araki’s predilection of woman supremacy , also the adjust of putting this intimacy behind the artworks or in between the artworks, or directly manifestation.

  Some may think Araki superficially brings the queerness of the exposure, boldness of erotism and nudity to the world or impact on subsequent artists. As mentioned, it is a misunderstanding as he takes erotism and nudity as natural states like Ren and Manbo, so we can just say Araki gives them the boldness to be their most honest, normal, and natural self. Imaginary cloud and sky when looking at girls, a feeling of connection. Connection of future, now and past. The actual time of passing and going, Araki captures and freezes it, freezing a future, surreal, imagined scenery of sky girls. That is the magic , the transcendence, the queerness which Araki inspired Manbo and Hen , with the base: intimacy and subtle feeling.

With the cultural background in Berlin, Mambo’s transgression and flamboyant style of queerness filled with the sparkle of Paris is Burning 1990 (15), a traditional colorful vitality . As he is now so into fulfilling the expectation that Taiwan contemporary art scene, critics, awards, museums that must have a reasonable , contextual trajectory to express his queerness and art, His works, notions of works (pic 13,pic 10) almost full of a grand narrative or dream, even responsibilities to render a platform for different genderized individuals( here, genderized mean any LGBTQ+, or the queer that Manbo claims that is already out of classification and dichotomy. In other words, who have consciously consider the connection between their existence with gender and sexuality, have a flash thought of the world where gender exist.). More, it is willful that Manbo tries to bring the drag queen, queer scene of Berlin or other foreign countries into Taiwan in a balanced or hegemonic way. He once said Taiwan has no personal and unique queer history and context, he wants to develop it by his art and the community he has. But at the same time yelling to admire the supremacy of foreign queer context and incorporate them into Taiwan. Taiwan actively accept this invasion, sorry, invitation by give the Taipei Art Awards to his full of dazzling and pompous symbols videotape. He somehow lost the magic or showed it not to most of the regulars, art critics and audiences. 

 In my conversation with Manbo, it is a pleasure and Araki's style to insert him. I capture him with those sentences: Ariaka works, he is intimate with his filmed targets. Seemingly, he doesn’t care about audiences’ gaze. The intimate, private vibe is the most charming thing of his works, also irreplaceable. We both think that the biggest difference is he is a straight man but Manbo and I are dedicated to convey the queer message and love to, have the ability to undergo diverse sexuality pleasure. The passion and willingness to engage with targets are the same, just the manifestation of targets is different due to personal predilection and political-social atmosphere. “Yeah, our similarity is intimacy, plus the energy which is driven by desire and transgression. Like you mentioned, the political background, political correctness of our day and age somehow separate me and Araki as he is more presumptuous.’ Mambo stresses on the uniqueness of all walks of life and not to compare ourselves. Araki is Araki , no need to care if he is queer or not, he already embodies himself through his works. He is so brilliant as transcendence that no one can put him in any category . No boundary at the same time treasures intimacy a lot, gaze into his own innocence and pure heart. They are such big words that touched me, recalling the pureness of beautiful souls which just merely want to fight freedom for the liberation of sex and erotism, with this passion, manifesting works that are deep-down full of willingness to transgress and fly like a peacock. “Ren Hang, one of my favorite photographers, is my friend when in a status of loving to take photos, take photos like hipsters. He suddenly become a strong symbol in contemporary art. I love the sign in his works is so powerful and pure.I can feel we are also the same type of person that stress on and stubborn on what we wanna express.We also start from a small group of community to make art, we chatted in Beijing before.” Let alone the intimacy and connection between artists themselves, transgression art  is a strong and beautiful bonding to develop a mutual love, mutual value, motivation to liberate a society.

(pic 11:センチメン タルな旅 by Nobuyoshi Araki & Yoko Araki, 1971)
(PIC 12:遠い場所の記憶:1951 – 1966 by 川田喜久治 VIVO)

Zone-out (curtain call)




(Matsuo Basho, 1686)⁣


(12)全名唐納提安.阿爾馮斯.佛朗索瓦(Donatien Alphonse François)的薩德侯爵,出生於1740年6月2日,因為他在耶穌會寄宿學校就曾被鞭打處罰,因此他自小就熱衷於鞭笞。他在自己的文學作品裡就生動地表述了自己對於鞭打、性暴力的熱忱,因此也出現了「薩德主義(Sadism,性虐待之意)」這個詞彙:透過加諸在他人身上的痛苦而性慾高漲的性心理異常。


(14)關於「私寫真」較明確的主張最早可追溯到 1950 年代的日本,人們常以此代表有 關個人主義的攝影題材。在當時日本攝影的巨頭—土門拳,在戰後發起了寫實主義攝 影的運動,主張拍攝的內容都應該不帶個人觀點地紀錄,拍攝出事物的原來的模樣, 然而 50 年代末的日本新興攝影團隊”VIVO”,成員包括:東松照明、細江英公、佐藤明、 奈良原一高、川田喜久治和丹野章。雖然他們各人的風格與拍攝題材都有明顯差別, 然而他們各自都與土門提倡的寫實主義攝影對抗著。就這樣私寫真的傳統開展了,並 持續地發展著在攝影進程中佔有重要的地位。參自楊曉東。「私寫真」的發展及其各種實踐。2019.

(15)《巴黎在燃燒》是由珍妮·利文斯頓執導的1990年紀錄片。它拍攝於1980年代中後期,記錄了紐約市以及與之相關的非裔美國人,拉丁裔,同性戀和變性人社區的球文化。評論家認為這部電影是一部關於紐約市“黃金時代”終結的無價紀錄片,並且對美國的種族,階級,性別和性取向進行了深思熟慮的探索。值得注意的是,本片為酷兒世界、文化帶來關鍵定義和話語領域如:Ball/ball room,字面意思就是舞會。但這裡指的是80年代在美國黑人同志社區興起的一種活動,人們聚集在一起來「比賽」,比賽分為幾個 category (類別),的內容有走秀、舞蹈等,並選出當晚的獲勝者。Realness,字面就是「真實/本身」,是走秀的一部分。比如 school realness, 意思就是服裝的主題要極力體現「學校」這個主題,你可以穿成學生、教師,總之,要「真實」。常見的主題有 town and country realness (鄉村主題),military realness (軍裝主題),executive realness (職場精英主題)等。 House,即「家」,但不是真實的家,是由一個創始人創辦的團體,通常在 Ballroom 里,會有來自不同的 house 之間進行比賽,個人的輸贏關乎 house 的榮耀。如果想加入某個 House, 則需要在 ball 上拿到獎盃之後,帶著榮耀加入到某個 house.在八九十年代的紐約,相當一部分同志被父母拋棄,或者本身就是無家可歸,他們在 house 中獲得同僚們都支持,無論是物質上的還是精神上的,讓他們有一種極大的歸屬感。 目前仍然在活躍的 house 有十多個,著名的就有 LaBeija, Ninja. 在本章,我會刻意用日常字詞去避免這些脈絡化、具文化意識的定義。


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