The unbearable lightness of Jacob Hashimoto
There’s nothing dark at all in Jacob Hashimoto’s installation The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About, on view in SITE Santa Fe’s SITElab exhibition space, but that’s the point. An algorithmic artwork of suspended multiples of rice-paper kite forms, the installation is like an exploded view of a pixelated environment — yet it evokes a tranquil feeling in the viewer that is itself at odds with its title and its complexity. Hashimoto brings a sculptural sense to his modular installations, which often reference pop culture but are rooted in art historical traditions. Jacob Hashimoto: The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About is on exhibit through March 24, 2019. On the cover is a detail from Hashimoto’s Prying in to the Secrets of the Sky, a paper, wood, acrylic, Dacron, and bamboo work from 2015; photo Anna Weirzbicka.
Jacob Hashimoto’s installation at SITE Santa Fe seems to hover at the crossroads of painting and sculpture, but it transcends both. The SITElab exhibit, The Dark Isn’t the Thing to Worry About, evokes an experience akin to entering into a pixelated environment, a digital composition in three dimensions, or a geometrical painting exploded into the surrounding space. Circular and rectangular kites of Japanese rice paper, each one framed by bamboo, hang from the ceiling, creating a suspended rain of colors and forms that somehow retains a feeling of two-dimensional balance. The idea of creating a composition in three dimensions was an evolution for Hashimoto. “When I first started making large-scale installations, I was coming out of a background of painting and drawing,” he said. also taut, not hanging loose and billowing. The separate components are imbued with a tensile strength Hashimoto achieves by coating the paper in an acrylic medium. Although some papers are colored, most, like the bamboo kite frames, are left natural. “Lots of people are like, ‘The work is so Asian,’ because I use the rice paper,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, even though I’m half Japanese, I am not wedded to the use of rice paper. I use it primarily because of the way it’s made. Its inherent physical qualities allow me to do things I couldn’t do with any other paper. The fibers, especially in the papers I’m using, are incredibly long and they’re incredibly strong papers. When they’re impregnated with acrylic, you can stretch them over surfaces and they remain pliable and don’t crack or buckle.”
Throughout his career, Hashimoto has made meditative, aesthetically pleasing works, some of which