Hiroshi Sugimoto visits Barcelona with his Black Box


‘Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.’  Hiroshi Sugimoto

The exhibition of the renowned Japanese photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto, under the title: ‘Hiroshi Sugimoto. Black Box’ provides a journey through his minimalist art with large pictures of the most famous series, inviting us to learn more about the work the artist is working on right now.

Hiroshi Sugimoto © 2016 Henry Leutwyler

Hiroshi Sugimoto © 2016 Henry Leutwyler

 Hiroshi Sugimoto

Black Box

From 19 February to 8 May 2016

From February 19, 2016, you can visit the exhibition at the Casa Garriga i Nogués in Barcelona about the Japanese photographer, Hiroshi Sugimoto. Hiroshi Sugimoto was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan in 1948 but he moved to New York in 1974. He is currently living between both cities. He is a multidisciplinary artist that works with sculptures, architecture and installation, but particularly, He is a renowned international artist in the field of photography.

The exhibition includes 39 large pictures, showing his last forty years of work. His pictures are divided into series of work, each having a distinct theme but similar attributes. The exhibition splits into five series: Seascapes (1980- ), Portraits(1994-1999), Theaters (1976- ), Dioramas (1976-2012) and Lightning Fields (2006-).

His work is characterized by an immense natural beauty and a high technical virtuosity. The photographer has managed to reinterpret some of the most characteristic genres of the classic photography tradition, rejecting digital technology in favour of traditional methods. Overall, the work of Hiroshi Sugimoto is a profound meditation on the nature of perception, illusion, representation, life and death.

Gemsbok 1980

Gemsbok 1980 – © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.

The hunging

The hanging, 1994 – © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Sugimoto is also deeply influenced by the writings and works of Marcel Duchamp, as well as the Dadaist and Surrealist movements as a whole. He has also expressed a great deal of interest in late 20th century modern architecture.

His use of an 8×10 large-format camera and extremely long exposures has garnered Sugimoto a reputation as a photographer of the highest technical ability. He is one of the few people in the world that can actually work with this kind of camera.

THEATERS shows his long-exposure photography art:

‘Suppose you shoot a whole movie in a single frame? And the answer: You get a shining screen. Immediately I sprang into action, experimenting toward realizing this vision. Dressed up as a tourist, I walked into a cheap cinema in the East Village with a large-format camera. As soon as the movie started, I fixed the shutter at a wide-open aperture, and two hours later when the movie finished, I clicked the shutter closed. That evening, I developed the film, and the vision exploded behind my eyes.’

– Hiroshi Sugimoto


Radio City Music Hall, 1978 – © Hiroshi Sugimoto

He is equally acclaimed for the conceptual and philosophical aspects of his work. It is very interesting the way he relates, for instance, the geocentric age and compares it with our daily nature. It is really worth to take a look at his work, not only his superb pictures, but also the thoughts that might have brought him to create them. He gives an exquisite philosophical explanation in all series of his work.

He talks as it follows in his REVOLUTION:

‘For a long time it was my job to stand on cliffs and gaze at the sea, the horizon where it touches the sky. The horizon is not a straight line, but a segment of a great arc. One day, standing atop a lone island peak in a remote sea, the horizon encompassing my entire field of vision, for a moment I was floating in the centre of a vast basin. But then, as I viewed the horizon encircle me, I had a distinct sensation of the earth as a watery globe, a clear vision of the horizon not as an endless expanse but the edge of an oceanic sphere. (…)’.

– Hiroshi Sugimoto

Carribean Sea, Yucatan, 1990 © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Caribbean Sea, Yucatan, 1990 © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Also his work, SEASCAPES, makes us float with him:

‘Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention―and yet they vouchsafe our very existence. The beginnings of life are shrouded in myth: Let there water and air. Living phenomena spontaneously generated from water and air in the presence of light, though that could just as easily suggest random coincidence as a Deity.

Let’s just say 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. While hardly inconceivable that at least one such planet should exist in the vast reaches of universe, we search in vain for another similar example.

Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing.’

– Hiroshi Sugimoto

Boden Sea Uttwil 1993

Boden Sea, Uttwil, 1993 – © Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto latest work, LIGHTNING FIELDS, consists in taking pictures with no camera; he uses electric shocks of 400.000 volts directly on a negative.

Lightning Field

Lightning Fields © Hiroshi Sugimoto

The artist remind us with his art what is important in live. Leaving daily rush, he stood still and thought, felt beauty for a moment, or ‘two hours’, and as result he got a work of art in his hands. Probably, he would disagree about production time is not as quick.

Enjoy of the new Hiroshi Sugimoto’s excellent exhibition!

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