Artist Collection – Alejandro Borsani
Conceptual Forms (2004) is a series of photographs by the Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto (I found only a couple of them on the web). He writes: I have photographed suites of “stereometric exemplars” purchased from the West during the Meiji era (1868-1911), now preserved by the University of Tokyo. The mathematical models are sculptural renderings of trigonometric functions; the mechanical models were teaching aids for showing the dynamics of Industrial Revolution-age machinery.
Sugimoto references Marcel Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass 1915-23) and says: “The Large Glass attempted to throw projections of the unseen fourth dimension onto our three-dimensional experience, much in the same way that three-dimensional objects cast shadows onto two-dimensional surfaces”. He also finds male and female characteristics in the photographed objects. The mathematical models will be asociated with the bride and the machanicals models with the bachelors.
I was interested about this work because it appear to me as a collection of abstracts objects: equations, functions, relations between forces. The mathematical models are objects of 12 inches of height, they make me think in fragments of a bone structure eroded by time. Maybe they are like old ideas, pieces of an old paradigm.
There is a relation between science, knowlege and art in the journey of these ojbects. First they were objects of scientfic study (made in Germany), then they were purchased and became imported knowlege (Japan) and finaly they were “elevated” to the category of art objects (this work was first showed at the Fondation Cartier pour le art contemporaine in Paris).
“These machines and models were created without any artistic intention. This is what motivated me to produce this series of photographs and title them ‘Conceptual Forms.’ Art is possible without artistic intention and can be better without It. ”
– Hiroshi Sugimoto.