Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1947 in Tokyo, Japan; lives and works in New York, USA and Tokyo)


Past Presence explores the artist’s continued interest in time and history though a canon of twentieth-century masterworks […] From Brancusi, Picasso and Matisse, through Magritte, Duchamp, Mondrian, to Giacometti, Warhol and Johns, each picture depicts an object that appears to float in an idealized, opaque space, representing an archetypal form once nascent in the artist’s mind. As in his earlier Architecture series, Sugimoto’s images appear out of focus and slightly indistinct, historically familiar, yet challenging the viewer through the blurred renderings to call upon our visual memory, to identify and ascertain each object and what it signifies within our modernity. Evoking questions of how images are remembered, Sugimoto asks us to conjure the original conception and essence of an artwork, removed from its associations. Are images recalled in precise recollection or as some intangible essence through time? […]

Past Presence began initially through an invitation from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, when Sugimoto was invited in 2013 to participate in a photographic commission for the forthcoming anniversary of The Aldrich Sculpture Garden. While photographing outdoors, he encountered a Giacometti sculpture, which became the inspiration for this new body of work. From there he decided to move out of the garden, turning the lens of the camera indoors, photographing a selection of works in the museum’s interior galleries. Thus commenced the series Past Presence, which now includes images taken predominantly at MoMA, New York, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Beyeler Foundation, Basel.” – gallery press release.


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