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Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lake Superior

October 27–December 3, 2011

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY


Installation Views

Selected Works

NEW YORK, September 28, 2011—Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lake Superior, on view October 27 through December 3, 2011. Sequenced by the artist, this single-subject exhibition presents twelve 20 x 24 inch gelatin silver prints of Lake Superior from 1995 and 2003, many of which have never been seen by the public. An exhibition featuring two new bodies of conceptual three-dimensional work by Sugimotowill be on view concurrently at The Pace Gallery at 510 West 25th Street.

An extension of Sugimoto's iconic and ongoing Seascape series, in which the artist photographs bodies of water around the world within a consistently minimal visual framework, the images on display depict the largest of North America's Great Lakes, Lake Superior. Using an 8 x 10 inch view camera, Sugimoto frames each vista to contain solely water and sky, employing the central horizon line to divide the picture plane into equal proportions of light and dark, void and substance. Nearly identical in formal composition, the photographs appear to vary only in atmospheric conditions and time of day.

The concept of the series is central to Sugimoto's photographic oeuvre, however, and when viewed in succession, the pictures assume different moods and reveal subtle visual nuances. Variations in the natural elements that comprise each image emerge and invite comparison: waves within the vast expanses of water shift between amorphous and defined, horizon lines vanish and rematerialize with changes in air density, and tonal values are transformed by the quality of light.

Although Sugimoto's photographs explore the natural world as subject, they transcend the genre of landscape. In their lack of human presence, neutral vantage points, and limited reference to geographic setting, the pictures become metaphoric terrains that encourage viewers to contemplate primordial notions of time and space. Sugimoto says of his Seascape series, "Water and air. So very commonplace are these substances, they hardly attract attention?and yet they vouchsafe our very existence…. Mystery of mysteries, water and air are right there before us in the sea. Every time I view the sea, I feel a calming sense of security, as if visiting my ancestral home; I embark on a voyage of seeing."

Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948, Tokyo) has lived and worked in New York City since 1974. His work was first included in Recent Acquisitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1978, and has since then been the subject of solo and group exhibitions worldwide. In 2006, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo organized his mid-career retrospective, Hiroshi Sugimoto, featuring approximately 120 photographs. A European version of the exhibition was organized by K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf in 2007, and subsequent venues included the Museum der Moderne Mönchsberg, Salzburg and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin.

His work is held in numerous public and private collections, such as the Art Institute of Chicago; the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Tate Gallery, London, among others.

Sugimoto is the recipient of many honors, including the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies Grant (1977); a Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship (1980); a National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1982); the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1999); the Hasselblad Foundation Award (2001); and the Praemium Imperiale for painting (2009). Monographs include: Time Exposed (1991); Sea of Buddha (1997); Sugimoto: In Praise of Shadows (1998); Theaters (2000); No Such Thing as Time (2001); Koke no musumade (2005); and Utsutsu na zou (2008).

For more information about Hiroshi Sugimoto: Lake Superior or press requests, please contact Nicollette Eason at Pace/MacGill Gallery, 212.759.7999 or For general inquiries, please

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