Hiroshi Sugimoto:History of History

2008.11.22 (Sat.) - 2009.3.22 (Sun.)

Art is technique: a means by which to materialize the invisible realm of the mind. As such, my art is an emblematic rendering of part of my mind in visible form̶or perhaps we might say,samplings from my consciousness. Over my many years as an artist, I have endeavored to hone my technique.
The origins of art thus share a common timeframe with the origins of humankind, its beginnings coinciding with the advent of human consciousness. In the course of honing my own technique, Iʼve had to take many predecessors as my models so as to acquire what is to be learned from them̶or again perhaps we might say my models have been sampled from the horizons reached by those predecessors. Whenever I obtained one sample and gained an understanding of a technique, each new mindset made me want the next sample and the next. Understanding one thing always brought the realization that more profound unknowns lay beyond. And so my sample gathering caused a chain reaction that led on who-knows-where.
The samples collected here represent offshoot selves, or no, former selves assembled out of necessity in order to learn something or absorb some nurturing sustenance toward further transforming my own art. From these samples, I may now infer how the past relates to my works via an imaginary journey to verify the site of innumerable actualities. I pick up a paleolithic stone tool and it fits snugly in the palm of my hand. I experience the revolutionary technical leap of paleolithic man and the epiphany enters my consciousness̶then I reach for an even better neolithic stone tool. In one instant, I have taken in hundreds of thousands of years of human development. I look at hieroglyphic writing in the Egyptian Book of the Dead and see images of gods. This piece of linen thought to have once wrapped a dead body hands me a five-millennia yardstick. The slow passage of ages past seems to speed up and rush headlong at my present self. Changes that once took a thousands years are now achieved in a matter of decades. Timeʼs arrow keeps accelerating asymptotically toward some critical juncture.
Civilizations have come and gone since the dawn of heaven and earth, writing and rewriting history at every turn. History is simply the victorsʼ story as passed down by the survivors. And yet the losersʼ stories that have become mere relics for lack of anyone to relate them, those closed pages still tell me things. Just as lifeforms extinct for millions of years still speak to me via their fossils. Throughout my life Iʼve taken one step back from history and gazed fondly at my collection of relics.
These relics Iʼve assembled present a history of what history has forgotten, of where stories ended between closed covers.

- To Create Our Own Place by Ourselves –

Kanazawa Art Platform 2008

2008.10.4 (Sat.) - 2008.12.7 (Sun.)

 “KANAZAWA ART PLATFORM 2008” is a project-type exhibition that 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa holds in the city of Kanazawa.
 In recent years, many artists have played an active part, directly involved in the community. How can they make an impact on society through their activities? How can they propose new ideas for the future? With these tough issues, they are exploring the possibilities of art, considering the real society a place for their practice and expression. Artists who deal with their works in such a constructive manner have specif ic characteristics in common. Instead of going ahead as a person of expression, they would rather put themselves in a coordinator’s position laboring to construct the basic framework and overall circumstances. What they regard as important is a mutual relationship; understanding, consent, and opposition sometimes. Being free from fixed ideas such as exhibition form, and genres of art, architecture or design, they approach projects cross wise in terms of the possibility of expression. In addition, they put a greater emphasis on chemistry between their works and the place where local people live and its continuity rather than extra ordinariness of artworks. There, coordination and site-specific work take precedence, and the involvement with many people is called for.
 Thus, “KANAZAWA ART PLATFORM 2008” is a project which provides a place where the residents of Kanazawa and artists, who are subjectively involved in activities in the community, can continue coordinating with each other. “Platform” literally represents a station platform where people meet with one another through art and it will lead to new happenings, so that new by passes are made around different frameworks of companies, homes, schools and communities. Finally, it will provide a good opportunity for people to meet and converse with each other livening up the city. In  “KANAZAWA ART PLATFORM,” we try to establish a place where people begin dialogues, not monologues, to promote a better relationship with the society.
 “KANAZAWA ART PLATFORM” is a project-type exhibition to be held triennial. Now we celebrate its first year, and this time, the theme is “to create our own place by ourselves.” Into this theme, we, citizens living in Kanazawa, have put our wish to make up a “platform” where we can get involved in the activities in the community together with artists. The goal of “KANAZAWA ART PLATFORM 2008” is that each citizen can enrich his or her life with confidence in the familiar surroundings through working together with artists.
Director, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

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「shell - shelter」

Collection II

2008.9.13 (Sat.) - 2009.4.12 (Sun.)

Collection II
「shell - shelter」

There will be no safety zone.
--- from: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, ANN LEE IN ANZEN ZONE

The “Collection Exhibition” presents important art works reflecting the changing values and transitions of contemporary society and, through their presentation, explores current social issues.

The keywords for “Collection II” are “shell — shelter.” The images of the human body presented in the exhibition suggest varying perspectives—a standard for value judgment, a cast-off shell of the emotions or spirit, a shelter allowing us to continue being who we are, life and death, and so on. While questioning existing values and rendering apparent our loneliness and uncertainty, our helplessness, and the distance between us as individuals, these works endeavor to discover anew a place of survival and meaningful existence.

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