Sunday, June 03, 2007


Joe. Photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Text by Jonathan Safran Foer. Designed by Takaaki Matsumoto. Prestel, Lakewood, 2006. 96 pp., 40 tritone illustrations, 11¾x15½".

"Sugimoto's photographs were all made in and around one of Richard Serra's torqued spiral steel sculptures, which is named Joe. Foer's text is broken up to flutter around the images, which are further abstracted by their soft focus. The effect, which we can only assume to be deliberate, can be as disorienting as, say, walking around in the shadow of a semienclosed, multiton ominously leaning, steel-walled space. [...] Foer's text doubles up on itself, bringing the reader back to where he or she started, but subtly changed?"

"Combining extremely soft light and blurred darkness, Sugimoto's pictures in this book capture the elliptical nature of Serra's piece. His images are complemented by the words of Jonathan Safran Foer, whose affecting prose poem-about an "average Joe" experiencing the circular passage of time-echoes, without directly referencing, Serra's sculpture. Designed by Takaaki Matsumoto, this beautiful, large-format book features tritone reproductions printed on luxurious uncoated stock. The result is an eloquent and visually arresting commentary on time, impermanence, and memory."

I've always had an absolute fascination with architecture and the angles you can find and make your own when photographing. This book to me goes to the soul of this: seeing your own forms and figures between the angles and shadows and lights of a set structure.

UPDATE: If you're in New York at any time during this summer don't miss the exhibition Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years showing at the MoMA (one of MoMA's most ambitious sculpture exhibitions to date). It runs from June 3 to September 10, 2007.

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