There are few artistic partnerships as brilliant as the one which developed between American photographer of the personal and the powerful, Nan Goldin, and her Japanese peer Nobuyoshi Araki, when the former spent time in Asia in the 1990s. Together, the duo merged their unique and idiosyncratic perspectives on intimacy, sexuality and beauty, collaborating most comprehensively on the book Tokyo Love: Spring 1994 – and it is from this fascinating insight into the Japanese underground that our most-Loved image of the week is taken, as selected by AnOthermag.com fashion features editor Olivia Singer.
The book itself has become an elusive jewel of visual culture – what rare copies of it there are in circulation passed from one pair of hands to another like a precious relic of a time gone by. Its demand is unsurprising, placing as it does the work of Goldin side by side with the prolific erotic art of Araki, with one enhancing the pull of the other like an unexpected pairing of fragrances. The snapshots which resulted are at once warmly sensual and gently probing, examining the emerging identity of Japanese youth culture even as they preserve it for posterity, and for our curious voyeurism. Here, Singer explains her fascination with this poignant image, and shares an insight both into her love of the duo and her Christmas shopping.
Why did you love this image by Nan Goldin?
I love the intimacy of Nan Goldin's work, and this collaboration with Araki took her out of her usual context but she still maintained her very distinct aesthetic. She said once that "I came back to Tokyo in the spring of 1994 to photograph the new Japanese youth and managed to track down my own tribe. I found a household of kids who are living by the same beliefs that I did as a teenager, and who transcended any definition of hetero or homosexual” – and there's something really powerful about that idea, that universality of subversive subculture.
If this photograph belonged to you, where would you hang it?
Above my dressing table, for inspiration.
If you were to take Goldin and Araki on a fantasy night out in London, where would you take them and what would you do?
I would take them to the Wet Satin Press party at Vogue Fabrics – it's a celebration of the publishing company set up by Reba Maybury to explore capitalism, sexuality and identity, and thus the perfect good-vibes place with plenty of photo-taking opportunity.
Vintage ballgown or vintage kimono?
Kimono! I bought an amazing peach-coloured silk one from the forties when I was in Berlin this summer – I found this incredible vintage kimono specialist (called Aura, on Sanderstraße) that made all my dreams come true.
What’s the last thing you bought?
A set of Louise Bourgeois mugs from the Tate gift shop. I was doing Christmas present shopping last night and I've wanted them for ages so, in the festive spirit, I treated myself.
What are you most excited about for the coming month?
The arrival of my new mugs.