Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Hiroshi Sugimoto:

'via Blog this'

This post has been long in the making. It underscores my reasons for the approach I took to Assignment 3, and yet I neither wrote nor posted it then. Why not? Because it is in many ways too intensely personal, and too close to baring my soul. Prior to completing the assignment I did not feel ready to publish these thoughts – now that my Assignment is out there, and commented on by my tutor, that feels like a significant omission. I cannot prove that this was a step on the way to developing Assignment 3 nor do I feel a need to, but I do think that having these underlying thoughts on record will be useful in sharpening up the text and explaining more effectively why I chose the route I did.

I have an interest in Japan, as a result of my other (inanimate) passion – karate – and my regular contact with Japanese visitors and culture in a previous job. I also have an interest – perhaps more than an interest – in Buddhism, so it is perhaps unsurprising that I would find myself attracted to the works of Sugimoto. His seascapes in particular seem infused with a deep spirituality – a meditative simplicity that I find hard to resist. His inclusion of these seascapes into a modern representation of a stupa in “Five Elements” as explained in this video makes his intentions very clear.

Sugimoto is on record as saying that the subject of his seascapes is “Times Arrow”. He argues that they are views which are essentially unchanged since they were first seen and that they can thus be seen as materialising a direct link between ourselves and those distant peoples. I can see that this is true on a macro scale – but the sea is always changing – it is never the same on a second look. If we continue the spiritual analysis, impermanence is manifest in any image of the sea – as in the Buddhist view of life. This feels like it may be worth exploring further.

Change is implicit in the changelessness that Sugimoto presents. Standing by the sea it is impossible not to be aware of this. The waves come in and out – never the same twice. The tide goes in and out – changing the shape of the beach as it goes. And yet – amongst all this change we are as sure as we can be that the tide will come in tomorrow and next year, next century, or next millennium.

Capturing this thought felt – and still feels – like a worthwhile pursuit.

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