Hiroshi Sugimoto Interview: Between Sea and Sky

Enjoy this visually stunning video featuring the legendary Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. He here describes the out-of-body experience he had when photographing the moon from a cliff, 100 meters above the sea, which later culminated in his ongoing ‘Seascape’ photographic series of the sea and its horizon.

“One day I simply turned it around. Suddenly it was no longer the view of the Moon from the Earth. It became a view of the Moon from a spaceship, hanging over the Earth.” If he turned around his photos of the moon and the sea, Sugimoto realized, he could gain a cosmic vision, and thus, in 1980, a new series was created in which he intentionally looks at his photos in a vertical way. When he creates his ‘Seascapes’, he always tries to capture air and water in equal halves, applying a constant method of always splitting the frame equally between sea and sky: “When you look up at outer space there’s the Moon and the stars. But on the surface of the Earth, the farthest place people can see is a sea horizon.” Moreover, Sugimoto argues that seascapes are also pivotal in that they are the only scenery that we, in our modern world, still share with the ancients: “Resources are limited, so inevitably they will run out… In order to face a failure likely to happen in the near future, we should see once again the seascapes that the ancients saw to revert us to our innocent minds. So my work hopefully gives us an opportunity to think before destroying ourselves.”

Hiroshi Sugimoto (b. 1948) is a Japanese artist and photographer. Sugimoto is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2001), the Praemium Imperiale Award for Painting (2009) and The Royal Photographic Society, Centenary Medal (2017). In 2006, he was the subject of a mid-career retrospective organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. Sugimoto has had solo exhibitions at prominent venues such as the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Osaka, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. His works are presently held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Modern art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu in Japan. Sugimoto lives and works between New York City and Tokyo. For more see: https://www.sugimotohiroshi.com/

Hiroshi Sugimoto was interviewed at the Enoura Observatory in Odawara, Japan by Haruko Hoyle in June 2018.

Camera: Yudai Maruyama
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Produced by: Kasper Bech Dyg and Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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