Hiroshi Sugimoto

September 10 > October 23, 2004
Paris - Beaubourg

Selected works
Press release

September 10 – October 24, 2004
Opening : Friday September 10, 6-8 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition of Jean-Michel Alberola, Galerie Daniel Templon presents twelve black and white photographs by the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. Selected from his series « architectures », the deliberately blurred and seemingly timeless photographs offer a re-interpretation of famous architectural master-pieces.

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1948. In 1970 he left Japan to study photography in Los Angeles, California. This was at a time when Minimalism and Conceptual Art - both of which influenced Sugimoto's work - reigned. As his own technique developed, Sugimoto came to conceive of subjects in such conceptual depth that they have continued to merit his attention ever since.

Known for his long-exposure photographic series of empty movie theaters and drive-ins, seascapes, museum dioramas and waxworks, Hiroshi Sugimoto recently has turned his camera on icons of 20th-century architecture from around the world. In this series, begun in 1997, Sugimoto re-interprets eminently familiar buildings, subverting his signature of clarity, deliberately blurring the images to create a different kind of precision. Out of the fog, the buildings rise like beautiful objects occupying the landscape. The blur slows time down and evokes the more subtle nature of architecture. It seems as if the photographer has gone backwards in time to recreate the visionary stages of these world-famous architectural masterpieces. The photographs depict structures as diverse as houses by Gerrit Rietveld, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe or the Tlalpan Chapel by Barragan and Woodland Cemetery by Eric Gunnar Asplund.

Sugimoto traveled around the world to photograph landmarks of modern architecture--not to document them, but to bring out their solidity, their evocative capacity and their enigmatic presence. Time is what fascinates Hiroshi Sugimoto the most. To create his photographs, he uses a special wooden photographic device, close to the 19th century photographic boxes. He keeps very long exposures, directly captured by a 8 x10 inche film. The printed photographs are then only 4 times larger than the negative. This sophisticated technique enables him to render lights and architectural details invisible through traditional photography.

Hiroshi Sugimoto travels most of the year looking for new motifs for his ongoing series of photographs. When he is not on the road, he shares his time between New York and Tokyo. He has exhibited widely over the last 30 years, including solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; La Caixa, Madrid; the Bielefeld Museum, Germany; the Kitakyushu Project Gallery, Japan; the Moderna Museet, Sweden; SF MOMA, San Francisco and the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin.

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