Hiroshi Sugimoto – The Sea and The Mirror

Château La Coste is pleased to announce that the new Renzo Piano Photography Pavilion will be inaugurated with The Sea and the Mirror, an exhibition of photography by the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. Curator Philip Larratt-Smith has made a careful selection of ten large-format works from the artist’s iconic Seascapes series to create a resonant and poetic presentation in dialogue with Piano’s architecture.

Hiroshi Sugimoto is one of the most important photographers of the past 40 years, celebrated for his technical virtuosity and his conceptual rigour in equal measure. Since 1980, Sugimoto has reinvented the genre of classical photography in what is perhaps his best-known series, the Seascapes. The concept behind the series is deceptively simple: the primordial landscape of sea and sky is photographed at various locations around the world. Sugimoto is a master craftsman, able to capture subtle shifts in light quality and a rich range of tonalities through the extreme perfection of his photographic prints. When installed in series, the cumulative effect of the Seascapes becomes even more powerful. The result is an open-ended and ongoing body of work that constitutes a veritable atlas of light and water.

Time is one of Sugimoto’s great subjects, and the artist has stated that he was inspired to make images that would have been recognizable to primitive man. In doing so, he holds up a mirror to our own identity in the present. In Larratt-Smith’s words: “by blurring the line between human history and eternity, representation and abstraction, Seascapes takes its place in the traditions of nature photography even as it achieves the status of a contemporary sublime.”

Sugimoto’s Seascapes take on special resonance in Piano’s Photography Pavilion. Situated amidst the vineyards that make up the rich domain of Château La Coste, the Photography Pavilion opens with a narrow corridor that widens out into a truncated triangular space. The play of the elements in Piano’s architecture meets the singular mixture of archaic and contemporary in Sugimoto’s art. The Sea and the Mirror represents a unique dialogue between two contemporary masters.