Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas - the exhibition catalogue from American Museum of Natural History available to buy at Museum Bookstore

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Dioramas

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'Like so much of the artist’s work, this series is conceptually brilliant, formally impressive, and ice cold. Which might be the point: we’re so alienated from nature that even the dioramas staged to involve us in animal drama (warthog vs. ostrich, polar bear vs. seal) come off as empty, if elaborate, tableaux.' - The New Yorker

Hiroshi Sugimoto (born 1948) began his four-decade-long series Dioramas in 1974, inspired by a trip to the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Surrounded by the museum's elaborate, naturalistic dioramas, Sugimoto realized that the scenes jumped to life when looked at with one eye closed. Recreated forestry and stretches of uninhabited land, wild, crouching animals against painted backgrounds and even prehistoric humans seemed entirely convincing with this visual trick, which launched a conceptual exploration of the photographic medium that has traversed his entire career.

Focusing his camera on individual dioramas as though they were entirely surrounding scenes, omitting their frames and educational materials and ensuring that no reflections enter the shot, his subjects appear as if photographed in their natural habitats. He also explores the power of photography to create history--in his own words, "photography functions as a fossilization of time." 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 earth, circling back to its renewal, where flora and fauna flourish without man. Here Sugimoto writes his own history of the world, an artist's creation myth.

Hiroshi Sugimoto was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, where he studied politics and sociology at Rikky University, later retraining as an artist at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, CA. He currently lives in New York and Tokyo.

  • Hardcover: 118 pages illustrated in duotone throughout
  • Date published: September 2014
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-8862083270
  • Product Dimensions: 28.5 x 25.8 cm

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