Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto is renowned for his elegant photographic series of seascapes, theaters, museum dioramas, and Buddhist statuary. His new series presents life-size, black-and-white portraits of historical figures-Henry VIII and each of his wives, Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Oscar Wilde, and Emperor Hirohito, among others-photographed in wax museums, isolated against black backgrounds, and dramatically lit so as to create haunting Rembrandtesque images. The series, which also includes a 25-foot, five-panel photograph of a wax effigy of Leonardo's Last Supper, emulates the grand tradition of portraiture and recalls the wax figures' sources in famous paintings by Holbein, David, van Dyck, and Vermeer.
This book, published to accompany an exhibition of commissioned work for the Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin that also travels to the Guggenheim Museo Bilbao, includes texts by a team of art historians and an interview with Sugimoto, offering fresh insights into the work of this contemporary artist.
Tracey Bashkoff is assistant curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Nancy Spector is curator of Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
75 duotone photographs, 11 x 12"
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Nov 1, 2000
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