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.

「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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