Magazine article Artforum International

Jacob Hashimoto: Studio LA Citta

Magazine article Artforum International

Jacob Hashimoto: Studio LA Citta

Article excerpt

Jacob Hashimoto, a thirty-three-year-old American artist of Japanese origin, displayed just one side of his apparently heterogeneous imagination here. He exhibited a series of wall pieces that look extremely light, and so they are: Built using kite technology, with hexagonal or elliptical modules arranged on various parallel planes, resulting in a sort of multiple or superimposed surface, they hang suspended from slender strings. Each module can be painted or left white, and each seems a monad unto itself, something already complete in its shape and signification. Yet the ensemble generates a sense of complexity, relationships, and depth that, for all its abstractness, suggests a model of society, or even of the environment. These wall pieces--which could almost be mistaken for models for light, colorful, ecological buildings with a strong utopian component--bring to mind the experimental architecture of the '60s and '70s, the sort of work that emerged in England with Archigram, for example, and in Japan with the perhaps even more radical Metabolist group.

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In dealing with an artist with Asian roots, even one who may feel utterly American, one should beware of looking too hard for traces of the culture of his or her country of origin--what we find may be little more than evidence of our own stereotypical views. And yet there is often a real basis for discovery in an artist's cultural origins; in Hashimoto's case, besides his interest in architectural utopias, there's also his approach to mark-making, which often evokes the Japanese design tradition, especially the sublime textile designs for kimonos. …

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