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Arles 2013: Hiroshi Sugimoto (Hermès)


For the third edition of Hermès Editeur, I chose to call on the talent of Hiroshi Sugimoto, I met when travelling in Asia a few years before. Sugimoto’s approach to his art, constantly exploring the resources of age-old craft skills so as to set up an inventive dialogue between history, traditions and a contemporary mode of expression, is very much at one with Hermès’ own philosophy. This realisation only confirmed my desire to appeal to this artist’s incisive, brilliant vision.

I can still remember very clearly the day I visited Hiroshi Sugimoto at his studio in Tokyo and he showed me his project, Colours of Shadow. At the centre of a large, light-filled room, rising like a column from floor to ceiling, there stood an optical glass prism of immaculate clarity. Hiroshi Sugimoto spent some months methodically taking Polaroids of these subtly varying gradations which were different every time. This was the chromatic epiphany that the artist suggested we could capture on our silk scarf.

The importance in this project of colour and abstraction, two notions close to my heart, made it perfectly coherent with the two previous editions by Hermès Editeur: Hommage au carré by Josef Albers (2008) and Photos-souvenirs au carré by Daniel Buren (2010).

The vocation of Hermès Éditeur projects is for this house of traditional craftsmanship to push its know-how further, beyond its limits. Together, we made a selection of 20 Polaroids to transpose onto silk: 20 carrés, each in an edition of 7, a total of 140 squares measuring 140 cm x 140 cm.

So it was that Couleurs de l’ombre came into being.

Pierre-Alexis Dumas
Artistic Director, Hermès

Colours of Shadow
Hiroshi Sugimoto
From July 1st to September 22nd, 2013
Église Saint-Blaise
13200 Arles
10 am – 7.30 pm
8 € (ticket includes an entry to the exhibition ‘Revolution’ by Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Espace Van Gogh South – 1st floor)

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