Exhibition: Hiroshi Sugimoto

Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto made his name photographing stuffed animals and waxworks. OK, this sounds like a dumb thing to do, but the point was he took his pictures carefully so that they looked like photos of live animals and real people, raising questions about reality, presentation, and all that other heavy philosophical stuff.

Since then he has also shown that he is not a one trick pony with new conceptual tangents like blurred photos of iconic buildings that force the unwilling viewer to focus on their essential qualities (fuzzy square bit, fuzzy roundish bit, etc.). His latest trick is to photograph architectural models in close up and, through enlargement, to create the impression of monumental structures. Sugimoto’s main appeal is not so much his often dull images, but in how he messes with our minds.

This small show at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, features 12 works, mainly from his blurred Architecture and minimalist Conceptual Forms series, which also conveniently give off a kind of wabi-sabi Zen vibe popular among a certain segment of the whacked out gaijin community.

June, 2007
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