Kunie Sugiura’s photograms are unlike their near relative, the traditional photograph, they are both not-here and here, not-now and now. By deliberately turning back the clock to the earliest era in photo history, she reminds us of the fragile, slight foundation upon which the triumph of the reproductive regime rests.
Sugiura employs only indexical marks, in which the thing depicted is also the agent and device of its depiction – manifested in identical scale to that which is depicted. Thus she reminds us that even the highest tech reproductive technologies, such as 3-D computer imaging and holographic projections, are but ambitious descendants of the primal visual catalyst for collapsing the present and the past – the footprint in the sand. The footprint, like a photograph or photogram, is a recording of a past reality, since the footprint that is firmly in the present – in other words still being made- would be invisible, hidden under the foot itself. But after it is revealed, it allows us to look back to an earlier reality: Someone was there. But in its fragility and, hence its obvious recentness it is not exactly past either.
– May 2000, Bill Arning,
MIT List Visual Arts Center
from Making Time Stutter, catalog essay for Kunie Sugiura, Dark Matters/Light Affairs, a retrospective exhibition at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY
KuniÉ Sugiura was born in 1942 and raised in Japan. Frustrated by the limited possibilities in a scientific career for women in Japan, she moved to the United States to study photography and filmmaking at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, where she earned a BFA in 1967. At the Art Institute she was encouraged to explore her interest in experimentation and process – an interest influenced by her background in science. Moving to New York, where she currently resides, Kunié has been in many solo and group exhibitions since 1969. Most recently she was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and a solo exhibition at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, NY. Her work can be found in many public collections including those of the George Eastman House, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in Saitama, Japan; and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Sugiura has received grants and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Peter S. Reed Foundation, and the Robert Scull Foundation. She is represented by Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York, NY. Kunie was a resident at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in July 2000.