Hiroshi Sugimoto: the artist who condenses the course of time and the perception of space into a single moment
A multi-talented figure, his artistic practice is focused on photography, nevertheless it includes architecture, installations, sculptural objects and producing performing arts projects. The “The first encounter” that Sugimoto presents in the exhibition in San Gimignano starts from interiors of several historic cinemas, including those of Ferrara, Mantua, Siena, Florence – places of remembering par excellence, where collective experience explodes in individual memories – and ultimately retraces in part the Italian stops along a famous journey, that of the “quattro ragazzi” (four young men), known also as the Tenshō Embassy. Sugimoto began his theatre series in 1978, it consists in long exposure images of drive ins, movie halls of the 20s and 30s, and cinemas of the 50s, taken during the projection of a movie. After a nearly 15-year interval, in 2013, the artist took up his work on theatres again. Photographic works exhibited in this show include those born out of this more recent exploration. In the summer of 2015, Hiroshi Sugimoto was in Italy to continue work on his theatres project. Whilst visiting the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza he changes upon the “quattro ragazzi” of the Tenshō Embassy. “I immediately felt a great interest in the journey of the quattro ragazzi in Europe,” explain the artist. “I started to investigate their travels and found that after disembarking at the port of Livorno they journeyed through Siena Pisa, Florence, Rome, they visited Assisi and Venice. I photographed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pantheon of Rome, the Duomo of Siena – all buildings already in existence when the quattro ragazzi were in Italy”. Sugimoto has exhibited in museums all over the world and his works are found in highly prestigious collections, including: the Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery, London; MACBA, Barcelona and the Tate Gallery, London; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.