The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan will be among the costliest natural disasters in the world, and to escape for the horror we are looking at, i would like to focus on the calm work of Hiroshi Sugimoto. Born in Tokyo, he is best known for his highly stylized photographic series of seascapes, movie theaters, natural history dioramas, waxworks and Buddhist sculptures. These series provoke fundamental questions about the relationship of photography and time, as well as exploring the mysterious and ineffable nature of reality. In recent years, Sugimoto’s work has broken out of, or beyond, photographic illusion to touch the moment of an ideal space rendered in photography.
My favourite work is still the early Seascapes, from the 80ies: these photos are based on the fact that living phenomena are spontaneously generated from water and air in the presence of light. The artist just says that there happened to be a planet with water and air in our solar system, and moreover at precisely the right distance from the sun for the temperatures required to coax forth life. So my peaceful message is let’s try seeing the tragedy as part of the natural cycle of the earth, that destroy and create at the same time, but never forget the nuclear alarm.
Some of his last solo exhibitions: ORIGINS OF ART Science, Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of contemporary Art, Kagawa; The Day After, The Pace Gallery, New York in 2010. Nature of Light, Izu Photo Museum, Mishima; Lightning Fields, Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Lightning Fields, Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo; Permanent Installation of “Coffin of Light ” at Benesse Park, Naoshima; Imakojima-Art, Architecture Collection, Yurinsou, Ohara Museum, Okayama; History of History, The National Museum of Art, Osaka in 2009. 7Days / 7 Nights, Gagosian Gallery, New York in 2008.