Colors of Shadow


Starting from cracking nuts with rocks like apes, the use of tools has undoubtedly added to human

acumen. The use of tools as extensions of our hands has greatly expanded our interaction with

nature. Over such interactions, wefve also acquired mental habits. In making arrows to shoot down

birds in flight, wefve had to understand how birds fly, as well as how to flake and grind stone to

make arrowheads. No sooner had humans grasped the notion of vertical gravitation and begun to

walk upright, freeing our hands from ground movement, than we started picking things up as tools,

and so developing our brain.

I myself have done my share of inventing tools for realizing various art projects. My studio is more

of a workshop Often they just don't sell the tools I need for the job: like a simultaneous vertical-

horizontal agitatorh to prevent uneven film developing for my Seascape negatives, or an "time-

lapse anti-slip device" for shooting my Theaters, or a "super-wide angle bellows" for my

Architecture series..

I've learned many things from using my hands. While I'm still not sure about the nature of

light\whether it's waves or particles\I've learned a thing or two about shadows. Thinking  to

devise a way of observing shadows, the project escalated into a major undertaking, requiring an

entire hilltop penthouse in an older apartment in Tokyo. When surfaces receives light, the light

effects varies according to the angle of exposure. Selecting three distinct angles\90, 55 and

35\I had the walls surfaced using traditional Japanese shikkui plaster finishing, which absorbs

and reflects light most evenly. In the morning light, the shadows play freely over the surfaces, now

appearing, now vanishing. While on rainy days, they take on a deeper, more evocative cast. I've

only just begun my observations, but already I've discovered a sublime variety in shadow hues.



- Hiroshi Sugimoto