Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Point of Infinity completes on San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Island


Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Point of Infinity completes on San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Island

(Sugimoto Studio)

The first permanent sculpture commissioned for the Treasure Island Arts Program has completed on Yerba Buena Island in San Francisco. The sculpture is titled Point of Infinity: Surface of Revolution with Constant Negative Curvature by Hiroshi Sugimoto acts as a sundial. It is Sugimoto’s first large scale public installation in the United States.

The announcement comes from a partnership between the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and the Treasure Island Development Authority (TIDA). Sugimoto was selected from a 2017 competition that saw submissions from 495 artists to design a piece for the site. Point of Infinity is the first in a series of permanent installations commissioned for the Treasure Island Arts Program as part of the Treasure Island Arts Master Plan. The master plan encompasses the Treasure Island district and includes the neighboring Yerba Buena Island. It is set to guide and implement $50 million in public art funds over the next 20 years generated by the Treasure Island private development.

The work has been installed on a new park within Yerba Buena Island designed by Hood Design Studio.

Sugimoto is a Japanese photographer and architect who leads the Tokyo-based practice New Material Research Laboratory. Although Point of Infinity is Sugimoto’s first public installation of this scale, it is not his first work to be displayed in the United States. The architect has had work displayed in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art. He is also responsible for a redesign of Hirshhorn Museum’s sculpture garden.

Point of Infinity is constructed out of glass fiber reinforced concrete panels that transition into mirror polished stainless steel partway up its form. Its unique tapered shape was mathematically calculated and designed using the following formula:

(Courtesy San Francisco Arts Commission)

“I envisioned a sculpture based on the mathematical formula for a surface of revolution with constant negative curvature. A hyperbolic curve that suggests both infinity and eternity: two converging curved lines, getting closer and closer but never meeting,” said Sugimoto in a press release. “The concept of infinity is a human invention. It is a paradox. Nonetheless, we pursue it. It is symbolic of humankind’s pursuit of knowledge and innovation. I know, it sounds very optimistic…”

At its base the sculpture measures 23 feet wide, and it reaches a height of 69 feet, with a final diameter of  seven eights of an inch. It is through the mathematical calculations that the piece acts as a sundial. Its functionality and shape reference the Tower of the Sun sculpture from the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. A stone placed on the ground marks the location of the noon shadow on the spring and autumnal equinoxes.

A public unveiling and ribbon cutting for Point of Infinity is set to take place in late 2023.