Adding to the Mix 5: Hiroshi Sugimoto’s “Lightning Fields no. 176” (2009)

August 8, 2012 - October 21, 2012

Lightning in night sky

Scientific phenomena, the role of chance, and “camera-less” photography are all topics raised by Hiroshi Sugimoto’s stunning large-format photograph Lightning Fields no. 176 (2009), a recent addition to the Ackland’s permanent collection.

One of the most prominent artists currently working in photography, Hiroshi Sugimoto consistently probes the potential and pushes the limits of the medium through photos of extraordinary elegance, technical accomplishment, and conceptual intelligence. Lightning Fields no. 176 (2009) is part of Sugimoto’s recent “camera-less” photography project, inspired by the pioneering nineteenth-century photographer William Fox Talbot and his primary areas of interest: photography and static electricity.

Lightning Fields no. 176 is the result of an experimental project involving the release of a significant electrical charge on film submerged in water, resulting in small flashes of light racing across the surface and creating complex textural effects. Accompanying the work are nineteenth- through twenty-first-century photographs from the Ackland’s collection that deal with scientific phenomena, the role of chance, the elimination of the camera from the process, and other related themes.

Read the Independent Weekly review.

Adding to the Mix is an ongoing series of exhibitions placing select recent acquisitions within the context of resonant works already in the Ackland’s collection. This exhibition is also part of the Ackland’s Season of Japan, a series of seven unique exhibitions and dozens of public programs showcasing historical and modern Japanese art and culture.

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Japanese, born 1948: Lightning Fields no. 176, 2009; gelatin silver print, 58-3/4″ x 47″ (149.2 cm x 119.4 cm), edition of 5. © Hiroshi Sugimoto, courtesy The Pace Gallery. Photo courtesy The Pace Gallery. 2012.17.