Exhibitions

Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields

08.12.2011 - 21.01.2012
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields
The artist’s exhibition at Axel Vervoordt gallery mirrors Sugimoto’s conceptual approach upon the origins of early life. This exhibition focuses on two of the three periods in the history of earth: “I wish to simulate the history of the earth in three periods: first, a dark hot planet shrouded in thick clouds of gas its primordial sea repeatedly struck by lightning and pelleted by tiny asteroids; second, a stable atmosphere and vast murky protobiotic waters; and third, the Paleozoic sea churning with biological phenomena.”

The gallery will feature six works from the Lightning Fields series. Sugimoto radically created the Lightning Fields through a method that did not involve the use of a camera. Sugimoto bought a Van de Graaff generator, capable of creating 400,000 volts, and he used it to charge a metal ball with static for up to 10 minutes. The negative pole was created by a large metal tabletop, on which he placed a six-by-three-foot sheet of film.

"When I feel the charge is strong enough then I just move the ball closer to the metal sheet and at a certain point — bang! — it just sparks," Sugimoto explains. The results, which he refers to as "lightning fields," often resemble meteor showers and, if the charge is powerful enough, create a treeing effect on the film, shattering it with forks of energy.
“Ligurian Sea, Saviore, 1993” represents the world the day after, represented by Hiroshi Sugimoto using equal proportions of sky and sea, lacking all human presence.

Hiroshi Sugimoto (Tokyo, 1948) has lived and worked in New York City since 1974. Hiroshi Sugimoto's interest in art began early. Influenced by Minimalism and Conceptual Art, he also has a lifelong connection to the work and philosophy of Marcel Duchamp. Central to Sugimoto's work is the idea that photography is a time machine, a method of preserving and picturing memory and time. This theme provides the defining principle of his ongoing series including, among others, Dioramas (1976- ); Theaters (1978- ); and Seascapes (1980- ). He places extraordinary value on the technical aspects of photography, printing his work with meticulous attention and a keen understanding of the nuances of silver-print making and its potential for tonal richness in his seemingly infinite palette of blacks, whites, and grays.

He had one-person exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; MCA, Chicago; and Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, among others. His work is in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; The National Gallery, London; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Smithsonian Institute of Art, Washington DC; and Tate, London, among others.
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields
Hiroshi Sugimoto - Lightning Fields