Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Print - In Praise of Shadows
  • In Praise of Shadows
    Sugimoto, Hiroshi, born 1948
  • Enlarge image

In Praise of Shadows

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (probably, made)

  • Date:

    2003 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Sugimoto, Hiroshi, born 1948 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case MP, shelf 238

The Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto works across a variety of media, but is best known for his photographs. He has a particular interest in historic photography techniques.

This print, a view from an installation also entitled In Praise of Shadows, is made with the aid of a camera obscura, or a pin-hole camera. This installation was on display at the Serpentine Gallery, where Sugimoto had an exhibition in 2003-2004. Sugimoto constructed a dark room, representing a camera obscura, at the centre of the gallery. A single candle was lit in the room, casting a flickering shadow through a photographic transparency of a candle on the wall behind.

This candle flame, burning over a period of time, is also the subject of this lithograph which was made on the occasion of the Serpentine exhibition. The installation and its photographic record is concerned with the essence of photography; the passing of time recorded by the action of light. This is captured in turn by the printmaking technique of lithography, creating a layering of image-making techniques in a single object. The fragile candle flame, burning itself out over a short space of time, is clearly intended as a reference to human mortality and vulnerability.

Physical description

A lithograph showing a white flame-like figure on black background

Place of Origin

Great Britain (probably, made)


2003 (made)


Sugimoto, Hiroshi, born 1948 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Signed and numbered by the artist


Height: 46 cm paper, Width: 28.5 cm paper, Height: 30 cm image, Width: 24 cm image

Descriptive line

In Praise of Shadows, Hiroshi Sugimoto, lithograph, 2003

Production Note

This limited edition print was conceived by Hiroshi Sugimoto on the occasion of his exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London (18 November 2003 - 18 January 2004).


Japanese paper



Subjects depicted

Camera obscuras; Candles; Light; Flames; Pinhole cameras


Prints; Images Online; Installation art


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.