NEWS: Nathalie Daoust – Tokyo Hotel Story @ Abject Gallery | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The history of the ‘love hotel’ can be traced back to Japan’s early Edo period. Within these establishments, patrons can have privacy while engaging in sexual activities, and the Alpha Inn, set within a residential neighbourhood, is now known as the largest S&M love hotel in the country. As an artist who often explores hidden cultures (her last exhibition at Abject Gallery concerned the lives of those living in North Korea), it’s unsurprising that the Alpha Inn was where Nathalie Daoust chose to spend several months to create her latest exhibition, Tokyo Hotel Story, which is at Newcastle’s Abject Gallery from Thursday 10th May until Saturday 16th June.

Despite the Alpha Inn being known for its S&M practices, Daoust’s work refrains from being seedy or voyeuristic. Instead, she aimed to capture 39 dominatrixes in a semi-natural state within their private spheres. She catalogues the women’s environment, alluding to the graphic activities that take place at the Inn, but also capturing some of their individual personalities, sharp detail combines with soft, blurred textures. Through both subject and technique, Daoust’s photography captures a grey area between the private and the public, and the deep tensions that arise between the women’s work and the expectations of women in Japanese society. Diving into a world hiding in plain sight, Tokyo Hotel Story is set to strikingly explore the twin realms of reality and fantasy.

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