18 October 2006

Hiroshi Sugimoto

C1023, 2006

Galerie Marian Goodman
79, rue du Temple
September 16–October 25

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s new “Colors of Shadow” series, the first he photographed entirely in color, is a feat of aesthetic and technical prowess that beautifully merges the artist’s abiding interests in architecture, sculpture, and photography. Striding away from the notion that a photograph is a found object dependent on chance, Sugimoto donned his architect’s cap to prepare his subject—a Tokyo apartment—in advance. First, he had the walls finished with shikkui, a traditional, brilliantly white Japanese plaster. Then, he aimed his camera toward the homogenously toned surfaces from three different angles in order to capture the natural play of light and shadow on them throughout the day.

As one might expect, Sugimoto’s “Colors of Shadow” do not shout, they whisper. One might even mistake them for black-and-white images. The monochromatic grisaille of the tightly framed interior is rendered in pale shades, with occasional dominant blue or yellow tones. In some spots, darker gray shadows provide depth to the smooth walls and sharp corners, while bright light washes other areas into flat abstractions. It’s a cliché, but the photographs literally draw you in. The resulting experience is simultaneously complex and simple. Your eye hungrily explores a space that, in its monastic emptiness, calls the mind to rest. Here, more than ever, Sugimoto demonstrates his unmatched capacity to tantalize the viewer by sculpting light and shaping time.

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