deus ex machina: sugimoto in sf LAST DAYS

I chose to interpret this as the invisible hand of God coming down to bring my monumental, but unfinished Last Supper to completion. Leonardo completed his Last Supper over five hundred years ago, and it has deteriorated beautifully. I can only be grateful to the storm for putting my work through a half-millennium’s worth of stresses in so short a time.




But the new non-Dionysiac spirit is most clearly apparent in the endings of the new dramas. At the end of the old tragedies there was a sense of metaphysical conciliation without which it is impossible to imagine our taking delight in tragedy; perhaps the conciliatory tones from another world echo most purely in Oedipus at Colonus. Now, once tragedy had lost the genius of music, tragedy in the strictest sense was dead: for where was that metaphysical consolation now to be found? Hence an earthly resolution for tragic dissonance was sought; the hero, having been adequately tormented by fate, won his well-earned reward in a stately marriage and tokens of divine honour. The hero had become a gladiator, granted freedom once he had been satisfactorily flayed and scarred. Metaphysical consolation had been ousted by the deus ex machina.

—Friedrich Nietzsche
Sugimoto show at Fraenkel Gallery in SF, thru July 2 LAST DAYS

fraenkel gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition Hiroshi Sugimoto: Acts of God, to be presented May 1 – July 2, 2014. This exhibition is the first U.S. presentation of Sugimoto’s The Last Supper: Acts of God (1999/2012), a five-panel photograph, more than 24 feet in length. The artist first created this work in 1999, from a life-size wax reproduction of Leonardo’s The Last Supper, which he photographed at a museum in Izu, Japan. In 2012, while the work was stored in the artist’s basement, it was damaged by the storm surge and flooding that occurred when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City. Sugimoto chose to retain the dramatic marks, colorations and ripples that have changed the character of the photograph.

These are glamorous photographs of antique mathematical and mechanical models, which Hiroshi Sugimoto came across in Tokyo. The swooping, angled forms evoke Brancusi and Arp; Man Ray photographed some of these same models for similarly abstract purposes. Mr. Sugimoto’s aesthetic is, in various ways, a throwback to the machine art of their era, the 1920’s and 30’s, but it also engages 19th-century craftsmanship and empirical philosophy.

Three-quarter views shot from slightly below, these large photographs (size matters here) turn their practical subjects into big-screen cinematic presences, curvaceous and potent, lighted to emerge from the half-shadows as if for their close-ups. The nostalgia, entailing both form and content, is, like everything Mr. Sugimoto does, balanced by a taste for simplicity. MICHAEL KIMMELMAN (2005 in New York, Sonnabend)

I first read about Sugimoto Joe in New York Times, then called the Pulitzer Foundation via phone about it, then toured the facility (Ann Hamilton show, something with gloves), and took home two copies of the book)

sugimotoJoeI also saw a big Sugimoto show at the DeYoung in summer, 2007

The exhibition includes examples from the series that Sugimoto began in the mid-1970s, Dioramas andMovie Theaters, as well as images from Seascapes and Portraits, started in the 1980s and 1990s, respectively. The eight photographs in Portraits were taken in Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in London, and Sugimoto painstakingly “remade” them to look like the original paintings from which they were modeled, employing lighting techniques similar to those that the painters might have used. The show also presents Sea of Buddha, 1995; Sugimoto’s more recent Architecture series; and images from Conceptual Forms, a series on which he is currently working.

This is not a sugimoto caribbean sea image of 1980: this says 650 words but fewer than 100 are written by me, by my hand, the rest are written, it would seem, by god, as a new type of deus ex machina, god and machine. And this on a Friday. Night. Shabbat. We did not eat with ceremony but I did cook up some burgers on the grill, and corn and some sausages. Terry boiled some beets but we’ll have to save them for another day, Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise.

this is not sugimoto caribbean 1980

this is not sugimoto caribbean 1980

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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