Work by Hiroshi Sugimoto at SF’s Asian Art Museum

Happening upon the work of veteran Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Asian Art Museum is like entering the inside of a movie house or a cavern illuminated only by torchlight. These are fitting atmospherics for the theatrical Sugimoto, a cerebral artist, consummate technician, and showman who is especially gifted at shooting staged photographs that lure the viewer in and deceive the eye. Given his ultra-modernist, deconstructionist aesthetic and his attraction to abstract forms, Sugimoto has a natural kinship with Japan’s fashion-forward elite, whose seminal designs are contrasted with several of his new photographs in Stylized Sculpture: Contemporary Japanese Fashion From the Kyoto Costume Institute, on view at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum through January 6, 2008. The exhibition showcases 21 creations by such fashion icons as Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe, Rei Kawakubo and Tao Kurihara, a crew, who, in the early 1980s, helped redefine the Western concept of chic.

Sura Wood