Araki was born in Tokyo, studied photography during his college years and then went to work at the advertising agency Dentsu, where he met his future wife, the essayist Yōko Araki. After they were married, Araki published a book of pictures of his wife taken during their honeymoon titled Sentimental Journey. She died in 1990.
Pictures taken during her last days were published in a book titled Winter Journey.
Having published over 350 books by 2005, and still more every year, Araki is considered one of the most prolific artists alive or dead in Japan and around the world. Many of his photographs are erotic; some have been called pornographic. Among his photography books are Sentimental Journey (1971, but later reissued), Tokyo Lucky Hole (1985), and Shino.
In 1981, Araki directed High School Girl Fake Diary, a Roman Porno film for Nikkatsu studio. The film proved to be a disappointment both to Araki’s fans, and to fans of the pink film genre.
The Icelandic musician Björk is an admirer of Araki’s work, and served as one of his models. At her request he photographed the cover and inner sleeve pages of her 1997 remix album, Telegram. More recently, he has photographed pop singer Lady Gaga. Araki’s life and work were the subject of Travis Klose’s 2005 documentary film Arakimentari.
His works are held in numerous museum collections including the Tate and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The artist Rachel Whiteread creates elegant and poetic sculptures which explore architecture, space, absence and memory. Often inspired by the physicality of the human body, her works are poignant for their exploration of intimate domestic spaces and household objects. Whiteread typically uses industrial materials such as plaster, resin and rubber to cast the negative space surrounding or within an object - the murky darkness beneath a bed frame, the void within a humble cardboard box, the space in and around a myriad collection of books. The resulting sculptures retain the texture and shape of the original objects, yet are eerie ghosts of their former selves.
Whiteread is perhaps best known for several large-scale public commissions such as House, a sculpture cast from the interior of a condemned Victorian house in London’ s East End, Water Tower, a resin cast of the water towers ubiquitous to the New York City skyline, Monument, an inverted pedestal placed upon an empty plinth in Trafalgar Square and the Holocaust Memorial in Vienna, an impenetrable library of books turned inwards in commemoration of the thousands of Austrian Jews who perished during World War II. Like her smaller sculptures, these monumental works are distinguished by their minimalist sensibility and their capacity to evoke stillness and contemplation.
Rachel Whiteread has a long list of international distinctions which include winning the 1993 Turner Prize for House, representing Great Britain in the 1997 Venice Biennale and presenting solo exhibitions at such prestigious institutions as the Kunsthalle Basel, the Reina Sofia, The Serpentine Gallery and the Deutsche Guggenheim. Her work is housed in museums and private collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Tate Modern, London and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The artist lives and works in London, England.