Lightning Strikes for Japanese 'Zen Master'

Hiroshi Sugimoto discusses his Lightning Field series with Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu in New York on Oct. 14, 2010. (Suzanna Finlay/Asia Society)

Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, a recent visitor to the Asia Society, is the subject of a long piece in today's New York Times, which refers to him as a "Zen master of film photography."

The occasion for the Times piece is Sugimoto's current exhibition at the Pace Gallery in New York City, The Day After, which is devoted to his massive 2009 Lightning Field photographs. The photographs appear to represent alarmingly close-up views of lightning bolts, but are in fact the result of electrical discharges being applied to sheets of unexposed film inside a darkroom.

Speaking at the Asia Society's New York Center last month, Sugimoto explained to Asia Society Museum's Melissa Chiu that the Lightning Field works stem from his long-standing interest in the intersection of art and science—and that his darkroom experiments with electric shocks put him at a certain amount of risk. "It is very dangerous," he said with a grin, "but I survived!"

Read a summary of Hiroshi Sugimoto's Asia Society talk here. And watch a complete video of the program here.

Related links:
New York Times on Hiroshi Sugimoto, 11/14/10
Hiroshi Sugimoto at Pace Gallery

About the Author

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Jeff Tompkins is New York Content Manager at Asia Society.