The title, Just Love, is an ode to her new life after long suffering, a rebirth that Anrakuji describes as filled with “love.” In one image, she pushes her hands and feet against a flight of stairs like a worm crawling out of its hole. She eventually makes her way to a balcony where she soaks up the sun and joyfully dances with her own shadow. The shadows in the photographs literally spell out “JUST LOVE.” The love she freezes onto her frames manifests in myriad forms including grief and pain, As she writes, “Stepping away from my 6-foot universe into a world full of light with shadows becoming increasingly darker, I feel a bit dizzy yet also at ease. Here and now, I dance with the light, at one point cradling the carcass of my cat and crying uncontrollably, I imprint the expression of my life titled Just Love. Love continuously washes away the dirt in my heart. Simply, plainly, all there needs to be is ‘love.’” Just Love is the personal yet universal story of one living being’s journey of regaining a spirit of hope and desire.
Anrakuji ultimately creates a compelling parallel world that is both intimate and remote.
In O MAPA (“The Map” in Portuguese), feature a vulnerable and sensual female persona as the artist’s alter ego, who appears in an array of mysterious urban and rural settings. Fragmentary and obscure, the subject’s activity and/or location is purposefully left to the viewer to identify.
The artist refers to these portraits simply as “actions” which are necessary to do in order to live and as essential as breathing, blinking, or sleeping. Anrakuji’s use of peculiarly low or high angles brings to mind the anonymous nature of surveillance photographs, allowing the viewer to read the photographs like a map with multiple perspectives. O MAPA releases a flow of emotions filtered not by logic but by intuition arising from the artist’s concocted dreams.
The title 1800 millimètre is an allusion to the Japanese 19th century poet Shiki Masaoka’s essay entitled « Byosho Rokushaku » which translates ‘‘Sickbed of 1800mm’’. Masaoka finished the essay just before his premature death at the age of thirty-one years old. « Sickbed of 1800 mm » was the entire universe for Masaoka, just like for Anrakuji who spent most of her 20’s confined to a hospital bed where she was reborn as an artist. Going back to her roots, in 1800 millimètre, she locked herself in a confined room, alone, just like how she felt when she was at the hospital bed, far from the world out side of the hospital. She appears behind a curtain where the light through the window is the only source to light up her environment. 1800 millimètre was all she had, to experience life, both physical and mental pain, the loneliness, agony, frustration, and the fear of death.
A Decent Life
Ever since Anrakuji was a small child, she often had depersonalization experiences. Later, she understood that this was called depersonalization disorder. She is still not sure if this relates to a brain tumor that She suffered.
All of a sudden, she feels completely disconnected from the outside world.
"I do not feel reality, anxiety, fear, or sadness at all. It is “nothingness.” The only thing I am aware of is an unresponsive and utterly unpleasant feeling of floating. One day, I wandered off into a narrow path between a regular sidewalk and the Metropolitan Expressway. This place symbolically embodied my depersonalization to the greatest degree. Nobody. No sound. No sense of time. No future, no past, and no presence. As I stood there for a while, I noticed my shadow projected by a streetlight, elongating over asphalt long into the future and past. I am alive. I am alive indeed. I have a life. In the future, even if it is doubtful, I hope to live “a decent life." That was all I could realize, surely and ironically."
CHASM - Sakeme
CHASM - Sakeme is a series of images of sensual, faceless bodies of Anrakuji reenacting prosaic routines such as washing hair, undressing, and self-examining of her body. They all emerge from a narrow opening in the darkness with the impact and lyricism of a daydream. Chasm, a Greek-rooted word meaning "gap", "opening", or "break", is a metaphor for the outlet from which Anrakuji can release her emotions. "'chasm' is a stronger expression than ‘scream'; If you are in deep trouble, mentally and physically, you cannot even scream." says Anrakuji. She never lets her self-image slide into exhibitionist hedonism or self-inflicting narcissism. Instead, she commands a sophisticated body language with her willowy figure and long hair, achieving the haunting beauty of the impure and the outcast.
In e hagaki, ( picture post card ) Anrakuji reproduced her own photography work on to 150-year old used picture post cards which her grandfather meticulously collected and well preserved. Anrakuji contemplates on her relationship to her grandfather she never met who was a wine importer during the Meiji, Taisho and Show era. The viewer travels more than 100 year time between the old post cards and Anrakuji's present-day work.
"Tree root" in a South American tribal language, IPY is the word deeply connected to Anrakuji's artistic expression.
In this series Anrakuji represents herself as an alchemist of images and a catalyst for daydreams and desires. The boundaries between documentary and staged photography becomes blur as she obsessively explores her own body as the subject. This obsession with the human body at its most intimate is a result, in part, from her long periods spent hospitalized. The iconic work of the artist, IPY is a compelling entryway to Anrakuji's universe.
HMMT? is composed with the earliest works by Anrakuji after she recovered from a long time illness. During her gradual recovery, she began to make block prints, then photographs. Posing naked, clothed, or partially dressed, Anrakuji takes a uniquely obsessive interest in her own body. Her legs, arms, hands, toes, lips and hair create arresting compositions and erotic ambience.