Seascapes (1980), serie

  • Medium: Offset litograph flush-mounted on board
  • Size: Image: 24,1 x 31,1 cm - Mount : 35,2 x 46,4 cm

The repetition and variation of water: an expanded edition of Sugimoto’s classic series. For more than 30 years, Sugimoto has traveled the world photographing its seas, producing an extended meditation on the passage of time and the natural history of the earth reduced to its most basic, primordial substances: water and air. Always capturing the sea at a mo-ment of absolute tranquility, Sugimoto has composed all the photographs identically, with the horizon line precisely bifurcating each image. The repetition of this strict format reveals the uniqueness of each meeting of sea and sky, with the horizon never appearing exactly the same way twice. The photographs are romantic yet absolutely rigorous, apparently universal but exceedingly specific. In the introduction Munesuke Mita writes, It is clear that Sugimoto’s Seascapes possess a vitality that stands in contrast to Rothko’s last paintings, which took the reductionist passion of modernism--the desire to erase everything--to its extreme.


Hiroshi Sugimoto is a contemporary Japanese photographer whose esoteric practice explores memory and time. Using the intrinsic quality of long exposure photography, the artist provides insight into how the medium can both obscure and alter reality. Influenced by Dadaist and Surrealist theory, Sugimoto’s Seascapes, Dioramas, and Theaters, craft mysterious scenes from vernacular subject matter. “Photography is like a found object. A photographer never makes an actual subject; they just steal the image from the world,” the artist said. “Photography is a system of saving memories. It's a time machine, in a way, to preserve the memory, to preserve time.” Born on February 23, 1948, in Tokyo, Japan, he graduated with a degree in sociology and politics from Rikkyo University in 1970. The artist went on to receive his BFA in photography from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, before moving to New York in the mid-1970s. He was the recipient of the Hasselblad Award in 2001, and the subject of a mid-career retrospective in 2006 organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. The artist currently lives and works between New York, NY and Tokyo, Japan. Sugimoto’s works are presently held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan.

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