By Anjela Piccard
Visiting Artist SHINICHI SUGIMOTO “City of Gravity”
One of the oldest and most famous metropolises in Japan, Kyoto, undoubtedly inspires the work of artist Shinichi Sugimoto. This international exhibition titled “City of Gravity” transcends its literal translation, “movement of energy”, and guides us toward a fragmented and dystopic urban chaos.
This series of paintings questions everything — not only the notions of up and down, color, and space, but the consideration of the humanity’s survival. The painted layers, with strategic and often seemingly lawless depth, remind us of the parasitic nature of our human existence. Cyborgs float through the colorful landscapes. Beautiful figures engage in both trivial and then fascinating activities, cityscapes float endless into the sky. Through form, object placement, recognizable and yet puzzling figures, these meticulous layers draw us toward either validation or denial of The Future.
The artists’ extreme attention to detail and to the coveted “New Imperial” mark reveals hours of painstaking sacrifice. Each canvas is saturated with a vivid street art-kultural voice and is layered with notions of traditional color theory. These mixed-use techniques link this psychographic geography and with an ever daunting fear of aging — aging as an individual and falling apart, aging as a society and being replaced, aging as a culture and becoming obsolete. Subjects of time, place, history, lifestyle preferences, and an uncertain future show up again and again.
Quandary or conundrum, what is the possibility of transitioning into the unknown? One thing is for sure, gravity and reality remain uncertain in Sugimoto’s futures. The portrayal of this public abyss, of what may be ahead — not only for a vast changing global identity but for an individual human entity, is at the same time beautiful and haunting.