History of history. Based in New York and Tokyo, Hiroshi Sugimoto (b.1948), one of Japan's leading artists, is active at the front line of contemporary photography. The exhibition presents items which he collected alongside his photographic work. The collection opens a window onto a hitherto unknown aspect of the artist. Sugimoto expresses the many facets of himself as he is today.
Based in New York and Tokyo, Hiroshi Sugimoto (b.1948), one of Japan's leading artists, is active at the front line of contemporary photography. In the current exhibition we seek to get an overall picture of Hiroshi Sugimoto the man by exhibiting items which he collected alongside his photographic work.
Hiroshi Sugimoto's solo exhibition entitled 'History of History' was first shown in Tokyo in 2003 and then toured four cites in North America. It is now returning to Japan to be displayed on an unprecedented scale.
The exhibit here in Osaka consists of one of Sugimoto's classic works, SEASCAPES, displayed along a gently curved gallery wall more than 40m in length, and beside this in the 900m² expanse of the room stand his new works, LIGHTNING FIELDS, dimly illuminating the surrounding space as they discharge electric currents. Both of these are majestic works which exploit the specific architectural features of the building.
Another of Sugimoto's important series is DIORAMA, in which he photographs models representing the natural world before the advent of mankind, and in this show the photographs are displayed alongside actual fossils and stone tools. Pieces from the CONCEPTUAL FORMS and ARCHITECTURE series in the museum collection are also on show; CONCEPTUAL FORMS is accompanied by a newly created aluminium model.
When Hiroshi Sugimoto first started to collect objects, Japan's traditional fine and applied art formed the core of his acquisition. Sugimoto, who believes that art is a material expression of the mind, adopts techniques from ancient art and utilises them in his photographic work. In recent years his collection has focussed largely on non-art objects associated with the early-modern or modern world, such as 18th century autopsies, portraits of prominent 20th century figures, objects recovered from lunar exploration, meteorites and the like. The collection opens a window onto a hitherto unknown aspect of the artist.
The catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition whilst being a 'History of History' in print, designed to complement the show, also forms a complete self-contained world of its own. The artist has written an article about his collection of objects and has taken the photographs illustrating the catalogue himself.
There can be no doubt that this show, in which Sugimoto expresses the many facets of himself as he is today, presents us with a unique opportunity to connect with this unusual artist's view of artwork, history, and the world.
Image: Lightning Fields 019 2007-2008 ©Hiroshi Sugimoto. Courtesy of Gallery Koyanagi
Opening Hours: 10:00-17:00, Fridays until 19:00
Closed: Mondays (Except for May 4 (Mon./Holiday), 2009)
Admission until 30 minutes before closing