Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Serpentine Gallery
Sugimoto's first solo exhibition in London is a sombre, meditative affair “ the cool atmosphere of the Serpentine Gallery playing host to a dark meditative poetry of images.
The Serpentine gallery is situated in Kensington gardens; it is an educational charity like the photographer's gallery in Leicester Square. The building was originally a tea pavilion in 1934 and still retains a pre-war elegance, which stands out among contemporary galleries. The gallery was founded in 1970 by the arts council of Great Britain and is now supported by the arts council of England who provide approximately a quarter of its annual funding and a grant from Westminster city council. It raises the rest of its income through corporate sponsorship, charitable organizations, individual donations and merchandising. It had a re-opening in 1998 after a £4 million renovation funded by the National Lottery through the arts council of
England and several other corporate and charitable donors. The Serpentine aims to present modern and contemporary art in a dynamic exhibition venue along with running education and architecture programs. The gallery attracts around 400,000 visitors a year admission to the gallery and all events are free of charge.
Hiroshi Sugimoto creates his seascapes using traditional, if dated, photographic processes - this interest in tradition is also apparent in his work, which I will come to later. He tirelessly lugs a large wooden durdorf and sons 8 x10 format camera around the globe and makes his prints using the silver gelatin process. There is much talk of Sugimoto heavily down-rating his films to get long exposures. He claims, however, in an interview with Martin Herbert that this is quite untrue; he used quite short exposure times, as he wanted to stop the motion of the waves. Sugimoto's popularity has grown steadily since his emergence in the 80's; he only really starte