Hiroshi Sugimoto

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Via Modane, 16
May 16, 2017–October 1, 2017

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Teatro Goldoni Bagnacavallo, 2015, Il Gattopardo (Seating Side), 2015, gelatin silver print, 73 x 61".

In the deliberately dim light and cozy ambience of two large contiguous rooms at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto has installed twenty photographic prints from his “Theaters” series. The exhibition, curated by Filippo Maggia and Irene Calderoli, marks the debut of this new series, created over the past three years, which focuses on the interiors of large Italian theaters chosen for their distinctive architecture. The characteristically black-and-white images are the result of advanced photographic techniques and extended exposure times, which captured the light emitted by entire films screened at the venues. They follow along one after another, in totemic-seeming reflective panels organized by subject, always placing the viewer somewhere between stage and seating. The screens, seemingly backlit, emanate a luminosity that reveals the ornate décor of various sites, including the Teatro Rinnovati and the Teatro dei Rozzi in Siena, the Teatro Scientifico in Mantua, the Teatro Comunale in Ferrara, the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, the Teatro Farnese in Parma, and the Villa Mazzacorrati in Bologna. In the interior depicted by each work, taken with the camera pointed away from the stage that allow viewers some semblance of a “virtual” 360-degree experience, neoclassical and hieratic details adorning the podium and the empty box seats are revealed, thanks to the intensity of the glare, which becomes progressively fainter in the distance. In each shot, Sugimoto apparently wanted to synthesize moments and collapse the passage of time into a single, silent immutable space. The blinding light, which articulates symmetrical architectures, becomes a means to crystallize experiences but also to delineate and inhabit spaces, without the interference posed by the human presence that usually fills them.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

— Maria Chiara Valacchi