The Wall Street Journal features artist Hiroshi Sugimoto’s studio and office in this mini-profile of the artist and his obsessions:
Sugimoto began his New York life as a dealer of Japanese antiquities in Soho, and today regularly shops auctions to add to his diverse holdings. “My curiosity extends in many directions,” he says. Besides his continuing interest in Japanese artifacts (both ancient and World War II memorabilia), he also collects Renaissance relics, meteorite fragments and Space Race souvenirs. Two recent purchases are a WWII–era Japanese hunting license—”so I can hunt for myself,” he jokes—and a zero-gravity toilet from a Russian spacecraft that he has dubbed the “Space Fountain” in homage to his idol Marcel Duchamp.
He occasionally exhibits his prized collectibles in a custom-designed space that resembles a traditional Japanese teahouse, one floor up from his main studio, which functions as a kind of personal laboratory for historical hypotheses that “happen in my imagination,” says Sugimoto. “Scholars come up with a theory and write about it, but in my case, I want to present it with an actual object.” Recently on display was a Rembrandt print mounted in a traditional Japanese scroll hung above a wooden box used by Christian missionaries to Japan. “This is my imaginative reconstruction of [the life of] a 16th-century Japanese lord,” he explains.
And sometimes mixing his own artwork with his collections has an added benefit. “When I show them together in a museum setting, I can claim it on my expenses.”
Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Fossil Inspiration (Wall Street Journal)