Naming things has something to do with human awareness, with the separation of the entire world from you. So with the Seascapes, I was thinking about the most ancient of human impressions. The time when man first named the world around him…
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce "7 Days / 7 Nights," an exhibition of fourteen photographs from the Seascapes series by Hiroshi Sugimoto in an architectural setting of his own design.
For more than thirty years, Sugimoto has produced series of highly refined black and white photographs. His subjects, which include movie theaters and drive-ins, natural history dioramas, waxworks, and seascapes, provoke fundamental questions about the relationship of photography and time while exploring the mysterious and ineffable nature of reality.
In 1980 he began working on an ongoing series of photographs of the sea and its horizon in locations all over the world, using an old-fashioned large-format camera to make exposures of varying duration. These seascapes are as much about the nature of photography as nature itself. They fall into several basic types: clear dayscapes with crisp, absolute horizons dividing bright, blank skies from dark water; foggy dayscapes where sky and sea merge atmospherically; nightscapes, in which sky, water, waves, and horizon register as so many degrees of black; and dawnscapes shot deliberately out of focus, where sunpaths spill from misty horizons, rendering the candor of photographic vision as pure impressionism. Captions are nuggets of empirical information and the nomenclature in Sugimoto's titles resonates: strait, gulf, bay, ocean, sea, channel, lake; Atami, Santa Cesarea, Pilion, Sounion, Tearai, Weston Cliff, Eagle River.
By returning to the same subject repeatedly, he reveals the subtleties that he finds in the primordial sea, site of the origin and emergence of life as well as of eternal continuity. While the Seascapes invoke proof of human existence within the vast and autonomous evolution of the universe, the title that Sugimoto has given to this particular grouping draws a clear analogy between the story of creation and the artistic act.
Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Tokyo in 1948. In 1970 he moved to Los Angeles and studied photography at the Art Center College of Design. He has exhibited extensively in major museums and galleries throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1995); Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2000); the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2002); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2003) and the Fondation Cartier de l'art contemporain, Paris (2004). A major survey of his work opened at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo in 2005 and traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. and the Fort Worth Art Museum, Texas (2006), K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf 2007, and the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2008). Sugimoto lives and works in New York City and Tokyo.