Hiroshi Sugimoto — Surface Tension



Hiroshi Sugimoto
Surface Tension

Past: October 28 → December 22, 2017

If I already have a vision, my work is almost done. The rest is a technical problem.

Hiroshi Sugimoto


Marian Goodman Gallery announces two simultaneous exhibitions of works by Hiroshi Sugimoto at the London and Paris Galleries. Working across photography, sculpture, installation and most recently architecture, Sugimoto explores his concerns of time, memory and societal progress, tracing their origins, while bridging Eastern and Western ideologies.

The London gallery presents Sugimoto’s work for the first time in Snow White, a collection of photographic works from Sugimoto’s Theaters series (1978– ). The works in the exhibition focus on theaters in America and Europe, specifically Drive-in theaters, Abandoned theaters and most recently a series of Italian Opera theaters.

The Theaters series began as an experiment in which Sugimoto used a long exposure (dictated by the duration of each film) to capture the thousands of moving images on a single frame of film. The ‘afterimage’ of this long exposure is one of a gleaming, pure white screen, which remains in our visual memory beyond the physical experience of the actual film screening. With the exhibition Snow White in London and a publication of the same name, the artist will for the first time reveal the titles of many of the films screened and capatured in the Theaters series.

The Abandoned Theaters depict the former grand halls of music and film now dilapidated, left to decay for decades. Reflecting the various economic downturns and changes in patterns of social entertainment, these images evoke a sense of Piranesi’s depictions of classical ruins, or in this case, are ruins made modern. Sugimoto began to photograph the most recent locations a number of Italian Opera Houses in 2014, which includes images of two of the earliest Renaissance theaters in Italy, the Palladio-designed Teatro Olimpico, Vincenza and the Teatro all’Antica, Sabbioneta. These classical Italian buildings are the architectural ancestors and inspiration for the style of the majority of the American Theaters which the artist originally began photographing.

The Paris gallery presents Surface Tension, a collection of images from the artist’s Seascapes series (1980– ). For Sugimoto, contemplating and photographing images of the seas of the world connects the present to the past and as well as the history of those seas to the land where he sets up his camera. The ever moving surface of the sea ensures that each work has it its own unrepeatable characteristics, communicated via weather, atmosphere and the illumination of the sun or the moon. The singular unifying element throughout the series is the perfectly balanced composition between the lower half weighted with the sea, and the airy upper half depicting the sky, each seascape divided dead centre by the horizon line. In Paris, the artist will present work from the 1990’s to his most recent works of the Tasman sea photographed in 2017.

In Paris, the artist will also show five works from his optical glass sculpture series known as the Five Elements. Taking the form from a traditional pagoda, this object comprises five shapes. Each shape has a representational meaning, referring to the Buddhist cosmological doctrine of Five Universals. The square form represents the earth, the globe signifies water, the pyramid is fire, the semi globe is air, and a teardrop form at the top represents emptiness. Each work has a single seascape embedded in the glass globe. In the downstairs vaulted gallery stands one of the Five Elements sculptures across from a photograph of Kegon Falls, Japan, a popular tourist destination and attraction because of its magnificent waterfall.

Snow White, a new limited edition book published by Damiani, will be launched at Librairie Marian Goodman, Paris, on the 28th of October from 5:30 to 6:00pm, before the opening reception at the gallery. The artist will be present.



Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948, Tokyo, Japan) divides his time between New York and Tokyo. He has organized and curated several exhibitions of his own work as well as traditional Japanese art from his personal collection, sometimes juxtaposing the two bodies of material in single exhibitions, such as the History of History, co-organized with Japan Society, 2005-2006, and the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and more recently Aujourd’hui le monde est mort (Lost Human Genetic Archive), Palais de Tokyo, 2014. A retrospective of his work was organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. & The Mori Art Museum Tokyo, 2006. Other recent museum exhibitions include Black Box, curated by Philip Larratt-Smith, presented at Fundacion MAPFRE, Barcelona and Madrid in 2016, and travelled to FOAM, The Photography Museum Amsterdam, 2016-2017, The Sea and the Mirror, an exhibition of large-scale seascapes, at Château La Coste, 8th May — 3rd September 2017, and Le Notti Bianche, the debut of the Italian Opera Theaters, at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, 16 May — 1 October 2017.
Sugimoto will open his Odawara Art Foundation in Kanagawa, Japan in Autumn 2017. Further information is available on www.odawara-af.com

The Gates of Paradise, an exhibition curated by the artist and presenting a new body of work exploring the establishment of Christianity in Japan and relations with Europe during the 16th Century, will be on view at the Japan Society in New York, opening 20 October 2017.

  • Opening Saturday, October 28, 2017 6 PM → 8 PM
03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

79, rue du Temple

75003 Paris

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The artist