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ISBN 10: 0810969289 / ISBN 13: 9780810969285
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Magers and Quinn Booksellers (Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since February 22, 2001

Quantity Available: 1

About this Item

Light to moderate shelf wear. Complete. No apparent underlining/highlighting. Hardcover. Bookseller Inventory # 853416

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title


Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto is renowned for his elegant photographic series of seascapes, theaters, museum dioramas, and Buddhist statuary. His 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 Hirohito, among others -- photographed in wax museums, isolated against black backgrounds, and dramatically lit so as to create haunting Rembrandtesque images. The series, which also includes a 25-foot, five-panel photograph of a wax effigy of Leonardo's Last Supper, emulates the grand tradition of portraiture and recalls the wax figures' sources in famous paintings by Holbein, David, van Dyck, and Vermeer.This book, published to accompany an exhibition of commissioned work for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin that also travels to the Guggenheim Museo Bilbao, includes texts by a team of art historians and an interview with Sugimoto, offering fresh insights into the work of this contemporary artist.


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

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