The art of capturing light through jewelry has always been central to Boucheron’s vision, ever since its founder Frédéric Boucheron opened the brand’s sun-drenched southern-facing Place Vendôme flagship in 1893, as the first of the great contemporary jewelers to open a boutique on the mythic square.
Fêting the 120th anniversary of the occasion the jeweler has joined forces with another master of light, Japanese photographerHiroshi Sugimoto, dramatically transforming the main room on the boutique’s ground floor, and one of the upper salons, into a darkened exhibition space for six new large-scale black and white prints from his « Revolution » series.
The prints were developed from old negatives from the 1980s and early 1990s that Sugimoto until now had never planned to show, each capturing moonlit seascapes taken in different locations around the world. “At the time, as a young photographer, I thought it was too romantic, but now that I’m mature — I don’t say old — I feel like I can show [them],” he said, linking the challenge of capturing light at night to the technical challenges of theater lighting for his bunraku (traditional Japanese puppet theater) show, “The Love Suicides at Sonezaki,” currently showing at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, co-sponsored by Boucheron. “How to express light at night time is a very important issue for theater productions, and this is about the same issue of how light at night, the moonlight, can be expressed. Most of the scenes [in the puppet show] are night scenes, especially the suicide scene, deep in the forest in Osaka, with a couple loving each other and then killing each other.”
Sugimoto, who also currently has an art exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent across town, said it was his Paris year. “I call it the Paris invasion program,” he joked.
Whereas Sugimoto in the past presented his « Seascapes » prints horizontally, showing the sea and sky in equal proportions, here the prints, placed in classic black frames with a white ground, are positioned vertically, cropping into the negative to give the sky dominance over the sea. Each print captures the moon shot in different exposures, going from a “sharp, clean moon” captured against a black sea in Newfoundland, Canada, to a murky moon in Norway, to a sliver of a new moon captured over the Red Sea in the north of Egypt. Prints with slow exposures of the moon shot across three hours feature abstract, bright, light-sabre-like lines cutting an arc through the sky.
Showcased in a room adjacent to the exhibition on the site’s ground floor is Boucheron’s newHôtel de la Lumière (Hotel of Light) fine jewelry collection, spanning an objet d’art composed of a diamond and aquamarine peacock brooch perched on a stand with a base honed from diamond-studded meteorite, and a grand Soleil Radiant necklace composed of diamonds in myriad light-catching cuts.
Sugimoto’s exhibition will be on show at the Boucheron flagship through October 25. The initiative is part of Boucheron’s Artiste & Artisan du Rêve (Artist and Dream Artisan) concept, which seeks to create a dialogue with the contemporary art scene.