Beginning on July 4, 2008, the Neue Nationalgalerie will feature the Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto in what constitutes the most comprehensive retrospective of his fascinating oeuvre to be presented up to now in German-speaking countries. Berlin is the third station of a tour which also goes to Düsseldorf, Salzburg and Lucerne. The exhibition consists of more than seventy photographs, along with a sculpture of the great master of black-and-white photography; it demonstrates the great diversity of his groups of works, whose impressive clarity and precision immediately catch the viewer’s eye.
Hiroshi Sugimoto has been working for more than thirty years almost exclusively in the medium of black-and-white photography and creates extremely precise, very calm representations which are concerned with questions of reality and image, with time, with its passage and preservation, and above all with shadow and finely nuanced gradations of gray tones. His works are extremely concentrated, present and engaging. In their clarity, they radiate stillness and quiet and to some extent have a meditative effect which one is inclined to associate with the Japanese background of the artist.
Sugimoto was born in Tokyo in 1948 and, at the beginning of the nineteen-seventies, settled first in Los Angeles and then in New York where, in addition to his residence in Tokyo, he continues to live and work today.
Sugimoto always works in series which frequently extend over several years. His themes are highly diverse but are connected in their origin by the fact that they are never a matter of spontaneous snapshots, but rather of painstakingly conceived and planned photographs which are realized with great precision and technical perfection. “I am not a hunter,” Sugimoto says. “I already have the pictures in my head, then I go out in order to realize these ideas.”