Jacob Hashimoto, review by Emily Gosling
‘It’s a bit silly. It’s a stupid idea in a lot of ways, but that’s ok’, says artist Jacob Hashimoto of his new London solo show, The Other Sun.
‘There’s a personal narrative but these aren’t heavy ideas - they’re ideas that shape the experience. That’s really important, that the work can convey a sense of beauty, a sense of elegance, a sense of sophistication. It’s multi-faceted and multi-layered.’
Silly, stupid or otherwise, The Other Sun is undoubtedly beautiful. A canopy of fragile paper ‘kites’ undulate across the ceiling of the Ronchini Gallery creating a dual sense of peace and playfulness.
The installation is a continuation of a body of work the artist has been creating since the late 1990s: mostly room-sized installation pieces that draw on the expansive vistas of the natural world to create a sense of otherworldliness and awe, blurring the boundaries between landscape and abstraction.
Hashimoto says, ‘The whole room’s a landscape - it started as thinking of a big yellow cube and the block of yellow is the sun. The show is called The Other Sun - so it’s a stand in for the sun. It is stupid in a sense - but it’s thoughtfully stupid.’
He cites his main influences as American post-war abstraction, 1970s pattern design, hard-edged painting and ‘postmodern 1990s slacker panting.’
The results of this amalgam are refreshingly original, charming and airy. The fragility of the pieces mean that simply by entering the space, the work gently moves, creating an instant physical dialogue between the art and the viewer. The canopy structure offers a sense of safety, eliciting a childlike sense of innocence with its protective awning.
‘I’m interested in how it relates to the body’, says Hashimoto. ‘It moves by virtue of the air - you’re aware of your body’s relationship with the space. It’s less about the work and more about the viewer.’
Alongside six assistants, Hashimoto creates the work using traditional kite-making techniques, using paper and bamboo frames. Some 800 individual elements are suspended from the gallery ceiling at different lengths to create the undulations and waves - the imaginary clouds, sky and sun.
There’s a sense of democracy in the way Hashimoto discusses art, and indeed, art criticism. He says that through his work, while he’d ‘be very arrogant to assume how people would respond to it’, its crucial for him to create an experience that’s pleasurable for the viewer, and one left wide-open to interpretation.
‘I don’t want to create a hostile environment for the viewer - I don’t want to the viewer to feel stupid or threatened’, he says. ‘It’s open to a myriad of interpretations - it has so much traction as a complex way to allow a lot of different dialogues to open up. People like art for a lot of different reasons.’
The Other Sun runs from 29 June - 28 August at Ronchini Gallery, 22 Dering Street, London W1S 1AN