Go See-Paris: Auguste Rodin and Hiroshi Sugimoto contextualized in “Rodin-Sugimoto” at Gagosian Gallery through March 25th 2011

February 19th, 2011

The Three Shades (1881-1886) by August Rodin via Gagosian Gallery

Currently on view at the Gagosian Gallery in Paris is an unprecedented exhibition pairing the works of acclaimed nineteenth-century sculptor Auguste-Rodin (1840-1917) with acclaimed present-day Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto (b.1948).  The exhibition features three monumental works by the late French sculpture including The Three Shades (c.1880), Monument to Victor Hugo (1897), and the Whistler Muse (1908). Sugimoto’s work revolves around the relation of images to sculpted light. Seen side-by-side Rodin’s powerful works is his series Stylized Sculptures (2007) in which he selected distinct garments by some of the world’s most celebrated fashion designers and photographed them in such a way as to reveal their inherent sculptural qualities.

Stylized Sculpture 008, designer: Yves Saint Laurent (2007) by Hiroshi Sugimoto, via Gagosian Gallery

More text and images after the jump…

Monument to Victor Hugo (c. 1900) by Auguste Rodin, via Gagosian Gallery

Rodin’s work achieved a pivotal breakthrough in the history of modern sculpture. He is credited for revolutionizing classical and Renaissance sculpture to embody more movement, expression and vitality into very physical renditions of what might be considered to border along abstraction. The works in this exhibition contain powerful visceral movements; they depict an emphasized quality of flesh as well as reflect the changes of light around them.

Stylized Sculpture 011, designer: John Galliano (2007) by Hiroshi Sugimoto, via Gagosian Gallery

Sugimoto’s fashion photographs on the nearby walls do not project the same forceful quality as Rodin’s sculptural works. They nevertheless portray a strong and highly sculptural quality of the garments they depict. Sugimoto chose distinctive garments made by celebrated couturiers from the last century from the collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute, French designer Vionnet’s precociously modern T-dress, Balenciaga’s wasp-waisted ensemble, Yves St Laurent’s stern geometric designs and Issey Miyake’s sail-like dress. Each garment represents a turning point in twentieth century fashion history. Similar to Rodin’s sculpture, Sugimoto readily captures the corporeal dynamics of these designs.

Stylized Sculpture 011, desinger Issey Miyake (2007) via Gagosian Gallery

Sugimoto shot his work in chiaroscuro and on headless mannequins and thus distanced himself from the corporeal nature of the human body. The fashion garments thus reveal their pure formal qualities allowing Sugimoto to capture to the intrinsic sculptural nature of the history of 20th century fashion design.

Stylized Sculpture 023, designer: Vionnet (2007) by Hiroshi Sugimoto, via Gagosian Gallery

The unique nature of the exhibition reveals a similar rendition in corporeal form and expression through the different mediums of sculpture and photography. The work of both Rodin and Sugimoto make a special use of light which further accentuates sculptural power of their creations.

Stylized Sculpture 067, designer: Yohji Yamamoto (2008) by Hiroshi Sugimoto, via Gagosian Gallery

Stylized Sculpture 117, designer: Cristóbal Balenciaga
(2007) by Hiroshi Sugimoto, via Gagosian Gallery

Rodin Sugimoto Installation View, via Gagosian Gallery

Rodin Sugimoto Installation View, via Gagosian Gallery

Rodin Sugimoto Installation View, via Gagosian Gallery

Rodin Sugimoto Installation View, via Gagosian Gallery

-R.A. Proctor

Related Links:

Exhibition Page  [Gagosian Gallery]
Gagosian Gallery Paris Presents “Rodin-Sugimoto,” an exhibition of Sculpture and Photography [artdaily]