A body can literally become a storybook of one’s life with all its beauty, flaws, and imperfections: always been fascinated with the art of tattooing, reka nyari tells those stories through her images: “I feel that combining the autobiographical art of tattoos with the expressivity of a nude body is the most compelling way to bring out a person’s colorful, unapologetic past in the most visually relevant way possible”.
Living and working in New York City, Reka Nyari’s practice spans from fine art photography and videography, to elaborate installation and performance pieces. Oscillating between mischievous eroticism and wistful splendor, her work employs and explores traditional ideals of beauty and gender to portray sexuality from a predominantly female perspective. Nyari’s images of nude figures are not strictly intended as alluring portraits, while deriving their emotional charge from the familiar motifs of erotic photography, they expand the pictorial vocabulary to the realm of narratives, layering in personal histories and fictitious content. Unapologetically, Nyari embeds luscious and empowered bodies in luminous landscapes or against staged backdrops. Nudity, gesture, gaze, as well as objects, become intrinsically linked to the feminine identity. Born in 1979 in Helsinki, and raised in Finland and Hungary, Nyari came to New York City at the age of seventeen. After studying at The School of Visual Arts, she started modeling and discovered her interest in photography. The cinematography and eccentric narratives of Roman Polanski and David Lynch influence her work as much as the art of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Miles Aldridge, and Cindy Sherman. Her work has been exhibited in numerous galleries in the United States and Europe. She has received awards from prestigious organizations, including first place Winner of International Photography Awards (IPA in 2010 and 2022). Her 225-page Monograph titled ‘Femme Fatale: Female Erotic Photography’ is published in 6 languages and sold out worldwide. Her NFT auction at Art Basel Miami 2021 raised $200,000 for charity, and was featured in the New York Times. She is a SuperRare represented artist (superrare. com). Her work was featured at the 1st NFT museum exhibition in Milan at DART Dynamic Art Museum in Nov 2021-Feb 2022.
“I have always been fascinated with the art of tattooing. Although there isn’t any ink on my own skin, I have always been entranced by the idea of covering my body in designs. I first visited a tattoo artist at the tender age of sixteen when I picked a tribal design for my upper arm and made an appointment with an incognito artist the very next day. My mother, who is a quick-witted woman, got a whiff of it that same night. She promised that if I still wanted that same tattoo when I turned 18, she would not only accompany me to the parlor but also generously pay for it. A few weeks after that fateful evening my inclinations changed. I now desired a large lion (my star sign, nonetheless) leaping across both of my buttocks onto my lower posterior.
The lion changed into a dragon, the dragon into a tiger, the tiger into elaborate daggers that ran down my arms … until just before my 18th birthday I realized that I really did not know what I wanted permanently tattooed onto my unmarked young body. Today, though my body has slightly matured, these feelings remain. Maybe the fact that I never actually took the plunge myself has made tattoos more fascinating to me. I live vicariously through the amazing women I photograph. A tattooed body can literally become a storybook of one’s life, with all its beauty, flaws, and imperfections. The markings are not aberrations but desired manifestations of existence and experience. This brings to mind the centuries-old Japanese tradition of ‘Kintsukuroi’, the art of mending broken ceramics with gold. Cracks, lines, and scars make us more beautiful, interesting and desirable. The quote from Rumi, ‘the wound is the place where the Light enters you’, often comes to mind. As an artist, I tell stories with my images. I feel that combining the autobiographical art of tattoos with the expressivity of a nude body is the most compelling way to bring out a person’s colorful, unapologetic past in the most visually relevant way possible”.
The works here published, as well as the one on the cover, are part of the series BLOOMING INK and PUNCTURED INK. Taking shape as a blooming, gigantic flower, Charlotte, in BLOOMING INK, has faced extreme shyness and social anxiety for her entire life, causing her to withdraw and keep mostly to herself. Fascinated by the beauty of tattoos, she had the idea of covering her entire body in ink. Her bodysuit is a complete piece of art, designed by a tattoo artist in London to cover her whole body in intricate patterns, executed in about a year of hard-core needling and pain. Her tattoos changed her life: through the drawings on her body, she became the person she was always meant to be; an outspoken, artistic, and outgoing young woman. As her skin changed, so did her personality, and her life. “Through her tattoos, she bloomed into existence and became the exuberant flower she was always meant to me”. The newest series PUNCTURED INK, displays the healing power of nature and the connection to the human body and soul. “With this series, I started perforating botanical-like references into the surface of each image (thus making each piece unique). I was inspired by a long history of tribal scarification which signified a right of passage, permitting the individual to transcend their past traumas and transform their evolved selves. The botanic shapes, ferns, and flowers are influenced by the wild landscape of the Vietnamese jungle, and by the belief that nature truly is our most important teacher and healer. I hope you are all inspired by these women; their strength, resilience, beauty, and rebellious spirit”. ∎
This article was published in Superyacht Digest / Winter Issue 2022 – 2023 – ORDER YOUR COPY