Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present the first exhibition of new, large-format photographs of abandoned theaters by Hiroshi Sugimoto. Sugimoto began his artistic exploration of movie theaters in the late 1970s and continued throughout the 1990s, creating each photograph in a working theater while a film was being projected on a screen. In Remains to be Seen, on view at 49 Geary Street from September 8 – October 22, 2016, the artist has taken his poetic study of movie palaces further in time, to the point of architectural extinction. His new series of photographs look deeply into the seductive details of theaters that have been neglected and fallen into ruin.
As in the artist’s earlier photographs of movie houses, the exposure time is the entire length of the film being projected. However, for his recent work, the artist has personally chosen the specific films and brought them to these derelict theaters in which movies are no longer screened. To create his photograph of the Paramount Theater in Newark, New Jersey, for example, the exposure time was 134 minutes while Sugimoto projected On the Beach (1959), the post-apocalyptic film about nuclear war directed by Stanley Earl Kramer.
In instances when there was no existing movie screen, a stage curtain becomes a subtly textured backdrop to the projection. For other deserted theaters, Sugimoto brought his own screen and placed it on the stage or proscenium in order to project the film. In each resulting photograph, the movie is seen only as a glowing white rectangle that appears suspended in space, illuminating the mysterious effects of the passage of time.
Remains To Be Seen
September 8 – October 22, 2016