From the Seventies to the present day Hiroshi Sugimoto has produced a body of highly recognisable photographs – silent images with a predilection for the essential, snatched from the flow of time, that catch the eye as archetypes of a civilisation still pervaded by a sense of eternity.

“The first encounter”, presented by Sugimoto at the premises of Galeria Continua in San Gimignano, sets out from the interiors of several historic cinemas, including those of Florence, Siena, Mantua and Ferrara – places of remembering par excellence, where collective experience multiplies and explodes in individual memories – and ultimately retraces in part the Italian stops along a famous journey, that of the “quattro ragazzi” (four young men).

A multi-talented figure, Sugimoto’s artistic practice is focused on photography, nevertheless it includes architecture, installations, sculptural objects and producing performing arts projects.

Sugimoto began his theatre series in 1978, it consists in long exposure images of drive ins, movie halls of the 20s and 30s, and cinemas of the 50s, taken during the projection of a movie.

After a nearly 15-year interval, in 2013, the artist took up his work on theatres again. Photographic works exhibited in this show include those born out of this more recent exploration.

In the summer of 2015, Hiroshi Sugimoto was in Italy to continue work on his theatres project. Whilst visiting the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza he changed his mind and got interested in the  “quattro ragazzi” theme of the Tenshō Embassy. “I immediately felt a great interest in the journey of the quattro ragazzi in Europe,” explains the artist.

“I started to investigate their travels and found that after disembarking at the port of Livorno they journeyed through Siena Pisa, Florence, Rome, they visited Assisi and Venice. I photographed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pantheon of Rome, the Duomo of Siena – all buildings already in existence when the quattro ragazzi were in Italy”.

Sugimoto has exhibited in museums all over the world and his works are found in highly prestigious collections, including: the Georges Pompidou Centre, Paris; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery, London; MACBA, Barcelona and the Tate Gallery, London; the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

‚The First Encounter‘
Hiroshi Sugimoto
Galeria Continua
San Gimigniano
Through 13 January 2019