Hiroshi Sugimoto: Revolution
Published by Hatje Cantz.
Text by Armin Zweite.
Hiroshi Sugimoto rotates a nocturnal seascape 90 degrees to turn the horizons into vertical lines, dissipating the Romantic image of the night
Hiroshi Sugimoto is one of the best-known photographic artists of our time. His unique accomplishment in photography has been to contradict the medium’s conventional task--namely, to record reality as precisely as possible. In Sugimoto’s work, one is confronted with aformal reduction of images, by which he addresses fundamental questions of space and time, past and present, art and science, imagination and reality. “I was concerned with revealing an ancient stage of human memory through the medium of photography,” he said in 2002. “Whether it is individual memory or the cultural memory of mankind itself, my work is about returning to the past and remembering where we came from and how we came about.” This volume presents a group of images that Sugimoto has been working on for a long time. From a technical perspective, the nature of the pictures is undeniably photographic, but in terms of how they are perceived and understood, they might be more readily ascribed to a painterly or conceptual sphere. The point of departure for the 15 works, titled Revolution, is a nocturnal seascape, rotated 90 degrees to turn the horizons into vertical lines, dissipating the Romantic image of the night. The suite’s title alludes not to social unrest, but rather to an overturning of previously accepted laws or practices through new insights or methods. Without changing the pictures’ material substance or subject, the usual connotations of nocturnes are obviated; instead, highly original abstract configurations emerge.