Hiroshi Sugimoto. Portraits.

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9783775709293: Hiroshi Sugimoto. Portraits.
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From the publisher: "[Sugimoto's] new series presents life-size, black and white portraits of historical figures -- Henry VIII and each of his wives, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Oscar Wilde, and Emperor Hiroshito, among others -- photographed in wax museums, isolated against black backgrounds, and dramatically lit so as to create haunting Rembrandtesque images."

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Review:

Sugimoto: Portraits is the definitive discussion to date of the thought-provoking contemporary photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. Following a career that has focused on formal studies of museum dioramas, cinema interiors, and exquisite seascapes, Sugimoto accepted a commission from the Guggenheim to create a series of life-size black-and-white portraits of waxwork figures. His latest method of working enables him to take pictures of people who existed long before the invention of the camera: "I wanted to be the first sixteenth-century photographer," he says of his carefully constructed portraits of Henry VIII and his six wives. He notes that during the 18th century, wax figures played the same role of preserving a likeness as a portrait photograph.

Seventy-five of Sugimoto's waxwork portraits are reproduced here in richly textured duotones. Context for this latest direction taken by the artist is provided by examples of his earlier work and famous portraits by Holbein, Rembrandt, and others. An extensive bibliography and chronology complete the academic contribution of this elegant book. The many-layered conceptual questions related to "the archaeology of time" that his works inspire are explored in several essays, but the most successful chapter is a lively interview with Sugimoto himself. He tells how he photographed a tableau based on Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper that he discovered with delight in a small Japanese town; he is fascinated by the ironies of a Japanese man photographing an icon of Western art exhibited in Japan, fabricated in wax by Mexican workers using a European tradition. --John Stevenson

From Booklist:

Hedgecoe and Snowdon depict a man with his hands rather than face, but Sugimoto's portraits are far more radical. Their difference seems immediately obvious. Many of their subjects are dressed in clothing from much earlier periods and resemble famous painted portraits of historical figures. Others are contemporaries--Arafat, Castro, the pope--but look too familiar and perfect, standing in characteristic attitudes but before a black backdrop, not in the milieus in which they would look natural. Are they actors? No, they're wax figures. Sugimoto is much more conceptually rigorous than Snowdon or even an antic like David LaChapelle (Hotel LaChapelle, 1999) and lacks archness. He is concerned with aesthetic questions, such as what representation is and has been historically. The commentators in this book, who include, in an interview, Sugimoto, explain it all, as well as earlier projects by the elegant and cerebral Japanese photographer. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780810969285: Sugimoto Portraits

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0810969289 ISBN 13:  9780810969285
Publisher: Guggenheim Museum, 2000
Hardcover

9780892072897: Sugimoto: Portraits

Guggen..., 2003
Hardcover

9780892072279: Sugimoto Portraits

Deutsc..., 2000
Softcover

9780892072286: Sugimoto: Portraits : [anläßlich der Ausstellung Sugimoto: Portraits, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin, 5. März bis 14. Mai 2000].;

Softcover

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