LUCERNE.- For the past 30 years, Hiroshi Sugimoto (born in 1948) has been producing photographic images that are both fascinating and enigmatic. His images free photography from its obligation to reproduce reality and mobilize it instead for the sake of artistic reflections on time, the ephemeral and memory. It has been my intention, explained the artist, to use the resources of photography in order to render visible a primordial stage of human memory. Whether individual or cultural memory or the collective memory of humanity as a whole, it is a question of going back in time and recalling where we come from and how we came into existence. Sugimoto creates extremely reduced memory pictures which explore the nature of photography as well as the fundamental phenomena of human experience.
The work of this Japanese artist, who has lived in the USA since 1970, is serially structured. Yet each individual photograph contains within itself the conceptual space of the respective series as a whole. The ideas of Marcel Duchamp and of American Minimal and Conceptual Art have been as decisive for his art as traditional Japanese culture and far Eastern aesthetics. Sugimoto works with a late-19th-century large-format camera. His recent works, however, have progressively transgressed the medial boundaries of photography, deploying the surrounding space in sculptural and architectural terms.
The exhibition in the Museum of Art Lucerne will be specifically designed by the artist. It will be the closing venue of the largest retrospective in Europe so far, which started at K20 in Dusseldorf and successfully travelled to the Museum der Moderne in Salzburg and the Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin.