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[Image: Hiroshi Sugimoto "Brush Impression 0884" (2023)]

Hiroshi Sugimoto "Playing with Fire"

Gallery Koyanagi


Hiroshi Sugimoto
This exhibition will feature Hiroshi Sugimoto's new works from his latest series, "Brush Impression," in which he writes calligraphy on photographic paper in the darkroom using a brush dipped in developing or fixing solution.

This series began when Sugimoto returned to his New York studio after the three-year-long COVID-19 pandemic and found a large quantity of photographic paper that had expired. Normally, deteriorated photographic paper cannot be used, but Sugimoto decided to create works using deteriorated photographic paper. He brought the technique of "calligraphy" into the darkroom, dipped his brush into developing and fixing solutions, and hand-applied the brush to the photographic paper.

This exhibition will focus on “Fire." In the "In Praise of Shadows" series, Sugimoto captured the trajectory of time traced by a fire lit by a candle in a single photograph. In this work, he continued to write countless "fires" as if playing with fire, using different brush strokes to give various textures to his brush strokes, as if to reflect the "burning, sometimes with hands and feet out," in a dimly lit darkroom. By exposing the photographic paper to light for a certain period, the letters were given a light pink or red color, and the exhibition space was covered with multicolored "fires" as if it had been hit by a big fire. Flames and ashes are secretly mixed in beside them, telling the story of various "fires" that sometimes burn up and sometimes turn to ashes to be stilled.

Sugimoto has been attempting to add his interpretation to what already "exists" and develop it into a new form of expression. He likens this to the traditional technique of waka poetry and describes it as "hon-uta-tori. In the present work, Sugimoto began with a calligraphy, further expanding the interpretation of "hon-uta-tori," and then considered the origin of the characters, and transcribed the "flame" itself, which is a natural symbol. In the process of trial and error, Sugimoto created a series of works in which he applied ideographic Chinese characters to the phonetic characters "aiueo" to create a song, referring to the "cuneiform," which is considered one of the oldest characters known to mankind, the "Book of the Dead," which contains hieroglyphs used in ancient Egypt, and the "Oshibusaki," on which the words of the god Oomoto Oyasama Nao Deguchi were written. The Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Shoto Museum of Art, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo will hold a solo exhibition of Hiroshi Sugimoto's works entitled "Hon-uta-tori: Eastward Journey" from September 16 (Sat) to November 12 (Sun), 2023. This exhibition will feature a series of works including the above-mentioned Hon-uta-tori in calligraphy.

The Hayward Gallery in London will hold a retrospective exhibition "Hiroshi Sugimoto: Time Machine" from October 11, 2023, to January 7, 2024.


Sep 5 (Tue) 2023-Oct 27 (Fri) 2023 

Opening Hours Information

Monday, Sunday, Holidays
VenueGallery Koyanagi
Location9F Koyanagi Bldg., 1-7-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Access2 minute walk from exit 7 at Ginza-itchome Station on the Yurakucho line. 3 minute walk from exit 3 at Kyobashi Station on the Ginza line. 6 minute walk from exit A9 at Ginza Station on the Ginza, Hibiya and Marunouchi lines.
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