Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas
Hiroshi Sugimoto began to photograph his Dioramas series, a body of work that spans almost four decades, when he moved to New York City from Japan in 1974. While looking at the galleries in the American Museum of Natural History, he noticed that if he looked at the dioramas with one eye closed, the artificial scenes-prehistoric humans, dinosaurs, and taxidermied wild animals set in elaborately painted backgrounds-looked utterly convincing. This visual trick launched his conceptual exploration of the photographic medium, which continues today. Through his career, Sugimoto has addressed the photograph’s power to create a history. He has said, “photography functions as a fossilization of time.” In the Dioramas series, Sugimoto persuades the viewer that the photographer has captured a lived moment in time, although each scene is an elaborately crafted fiction. Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas narrates a story of the cycle of life, death and rebirth, from prehistoric aquatic life to the propagation of reptile and animal life to homo sapiens’ destruction of the planet-and then to a renewal of the earth, where flora and fauna flourish without man. Here Sugimoto writes his own history of the world, an artist’s creation myth.
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