THE EPIC BEAUTY OF JACOB HASHIMOTO’S “GAS GIANT” INSTALLATION AT MOCA

March 17, 2014  |  art

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Jacob Hashimoto’s massive new "Gas Giant" installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles is an immersive, transcendent experience that stands as a vivid testament to its creator's mastery of vision and execution. A sprawling exhibition that fills the PDC's hall from floor to ceiling with thousands of floating paper kites suspended on thin black threads, "Gas Giant" is the largest realization of an evolutionary sequence of smaller shows in recent years that have built to an epic crescendo.

The exhibition's central visual theme of the kite is a strong narrative for the artist, who explains, "The nice thing about the kites is that for a while I was very curious as to why they are so appealing to people. I think that in this day and age we don’t see that many handmade objects, so people are really attracted to this sense of hand and the sense of traditional crafts that are disappearing. In cultures that have lost more of those kinds of traditions, the sense of attachment to this work is greater. And to a culture like ours, when we see really high-quality handmade objects, it becomes nostalgic, it’s like “oh I remember when I could get one of these at the corner store, for like 10 cents or whatever.” It’s also about childhood and in some ways it’s about loss. When I talk about possibility it is also through that sense of loss and optimism, and because I think that the artworks, while they are very beautiful, they are also a little bit melancholic, and they are not all about joy and happiness.

There’s a lot of toil that goes into making this, and it’s not really evidenced in the work as content, but any thinking person that walks into this space and considers the number of knots, and the amount of folding and the amount of human time that has taken to put this thing together that is temporary, that is going to be destroyed, [makes it sad]. The greater the beauty the more sad it is. There’s a tremendous amount of potentiality when you arrive and you’re building it, and you’re optimistic, but it’s all couched in this idea of being temporary, just in the simple fact that this beautiful thing is not going to be here forever, that you have to go see it if you want to experience it."

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