Hiroshi Sugimoto


Hiroshi Sugimoto was born in Tokyo in 1948. In 1970 he moved to Los Angeles and studied photography at the Art Center College of Design. In 1974 he started dealing in Japanese antiquities in New York, where he lives. His other home is in his native Tokyo. 

In the late 1970s, Sugimoto began three concurrent series, Dioramas, Theaters, and Seascapes, employing his 8 x 10-inch large-format camera and black-and-white film. These series provoke fundamental questions about the relationship of photography and time, as well as exploring the mysterious and ineffable nature of reality.

In his Theater series, Sugimoto depicted the interiors of grand old movie houses. To create an effect of luminous empty space in the middle of ornate architectural details, Sugimoto would train his lens on an open movie screen while a movie was running, using a long exposure time. The artist explains this effect using a Zen metaphor: “a void is a consequence of fullness”.

Sugimoto’s first solo exhibition in Japan took place in 1977 and as of 1981 he has been exhibiting his work around the world. In the 1980s Sugimoto’s work was recognised with a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Mainichi Art Award. In 2001, Sugimoto was awarded the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

His work is held in numerous public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; The National Gallery, London; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Smithsonian Institute of Art, Washington, D.C., and Tate, London, among others.