Hiroshi Sugimoto: Architecture

Profoundly beautiful and powerfully evocative, the recent body of work entitled Architecture by internationally-acclaimed Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto will be presented at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, from December 4, 2003 through January 31, 2004. This series of large-scale black-and-white photographs dissolves the lines between time, memory, and history in icons of modernist architecture as disparate as the United Nations Headquarters by Wallace K. Harrison, Luis Barraagan’s Satellite Towers, the Saint Benedict Chapel by Peter Zumthor and Minoru Yamazaki’s World Trade Center.

Hiroshi Sugimoto has two recurring obsessions: history and time. He has described this new body of work as “architecture after the end of the world.” Sugimoto is known for taking years to work on his series of long-exposure photographs on themes ranging from museum dioramas, movie theaters, seascapes, and historical wax figures. The new architectural images run counter to the traditional sense of a photograph as capturing a moment in time.

The architectural icons in his most recent series represent the fifth major theme that Sugimoto has explored in depth. With this series Sugimoto has essentially broken all the rules of architectural photography. Photographing great landmarks of modernist architecture around the world, Sugimoto has deliberately taken the images out of focus and at unusual angles, isolating the recognizable forms. The blurred forms evoke the passage of time, muting the architectural details and leaving the essence of the building; suggestive of the way in which our memories preserve images.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Architecture was recently seen at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and is accompanied by a major publication and essays by Francesco Bonami, John Yau, and Marco Di Michelis.