Transcending Space And Time: Sugimoto’s Limitless Vision

Odawara Art Foundation, Odawara, Kanagawa, Japan.


NATIONAL
IMAGE BUILDING: HOW PHOTOGRAPHY TRANSFORMS ARCHITECTURE (GROUP SHOW)
PARRISH ART MUSEUM SOUTHHAMPTON, NEW YORK
THROUGH JUNE 17

SEEKING STILLNESS
(GROUP SHOW)
MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 3

WHAT ABSENCE IS MADE OF (GROUP SHOW)
HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN WASHINGTON D.C.
THROUGH SUMMER 2019
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
SUGIMOTOHIROSHI.COM
by Nancy Nesvet

Hiroshi Sugimoto — a photographer, landscape designer, philosopher and architect — is again adding to his multifaceted resume. A brilliant photographer who told me that photography was his ticket to seeing the world, he has explored the definition of photography and the limits of visualizing history and cultural tourism. Sylvan Barnet and William Burto, former Tufts University professors, amassed a significant collection of Sugimoto’s photographic work, allowing viewers in New England to access much of Sugimoto’s photography, including work from “Transforming the Real” (1996, Tufts University), which brought Sugimoto early recognition.

Imagine confronting a screen emitting a single burst of white light. By leaving the shutter open for an hour and a half, then condensing the film into one still, Sugimoto first explored film versus photography. “Seascapes” (1980) and “Theatres” (1978), shown in 1994 at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., are now in several collections, including the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine. Film is a time-based medium; the filmmaker dictates the amount of time spent with each image as the film progresses. Photography captures one millisecond of time in a single image, never to be extended. Sugimoto’s film literally condensed an hour and a half’s time into one photographic image. Connections between black holes absorbing energy or radioactivity producing bursts of light in dark fields cannot be avoided, as Hiroshi Sugimoto furthers his definitions and explorations of time.

His images of corners where glazed walls meet in his Tokyo studio produced photographs of shadow and light, recalling fog and sunsets. His seascapes, evenly divided at the horizon line, bring fog and light into timeless and limitless space. His condensation of space and time in photographs of interiors and films directly opposes these limitless portrayals of the sea. His “Sea of Buddhas” (1995) captures an 800-year-old installation of 1,001 Senju Kanon, the 1,000-armed merciful Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, lighted only by the sun. This limitless sea of Buddhas recognizes the many people and geographic range of Buddhism in the world.

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