From the origins of photography, the relationship between the medium and mathematics has been a subject of great interest for many photographers.
Internationally renown for his beautiful large-format, black-and-white gelatin silver prints composing, among others, his famous series Dioramas, Wax Museums, Seascapes, Theaters, and Architectures, the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto is not an exception. His interest towards infinity, the capability of his photographs to embrace the entirety of time and space, is the milestone of Sugimoto’s longstanding production.
Following this trait, the artist’s studies of mathematical models, on which he worked between 2002 and 2014, arise from – and pay homage to – Man Ray’s and Constantin Brancusi’s photographs and sculptures of similar objects. Sugimoto focused on the material fragility of these science-based sculptures and decided to bring them back to life, not only by representing their shape, but also reconstructing them.
The publication was released on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition curated by Klaus Ottmann, presented at The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. earlier this year. The book opens with an extensive essay by the curator, which proposes an in-depth reading of Sugimoto’s work as well as a study on the historical background of mathematical shapes in art. The following chapter features Sugimoto’s photographs of the mathematical models of the University of Tokyo, numbered and named scientifically, while the last part of the book gathers a series of installation views of Sugimoto’s own stainless-steel sculptures, exhibited in venues all over the world between 2005 and 2014.
Hiroshi Sugimoto, Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models 96 pp., € 35.00 www.hatjecantz.de