Jacob Hashimoto: Paper Paradise

American born Jacob Hashimoto’s eye-catching exhibition, ‘The Other Sun’ at London’s Ronchini Gallery in Mayfair certainly brings to mind planetary brilliance in colour and splendour. Hashimoto uses traditional kite-making materials and techniques to create singular, modular units collectively arranged into numinous, monumental installations and smaller, woven, three-dimensional wall pieces. Hanging by threads, the thousands of multicoloured translucent kites are hand-made with rice paper and bamboo, each tiny kite delightfully constructed with exacting care. Elegant white, solid gold or patterned, the cascading assemblage of kites moves like a flowing river of shimmering colour, rolling through the space with extraordinary buoyancy and energy. It’s difficult for the eye to focus on an individual kite without getting lost in the whole, all-encompassing space. Some of the more decorated kites are like tiny paintings; each ‘superflat’ composition floats above or below its surrounding neighbour, intrinsically incorporated into the design like the patterned scales of a fish.

Ronchini Gallery exterior. Photo Courtesy of Michele Roberto Sereni and Ronchini Gallery.

At the entrance to the gallery, Hashimoto’s large-scale installation flows into motion with a subtle, meditative rhythm as I open the glass door and pass underneath. It conveys a sense of wonder and playfulness as the texture, lighting and angle of the work shifts and changes while traveling through the speckled environment. While meandering beneath, the bright, fluttering work reveals itself to be an illuminated, celestial landscape borrowed from traditional Japanese painting or Manga animation – each viewer becoming a figure suspended in a handcrafted paper paradise. The temptation to reach out and touch is too much for most, and many forfeit at least to blow a small breath of wind out, causing a delightful tremble to ribbon through the work.

Jacob Hashimoto installation at Ronchini gallery in London. Photo Courtesy of Michele Roberto Sereni and Ronchini Gallery.

The artist’s smaller works, hanging like wall paintings near the back of the space, are more like high-relief installations with tea saucer sized kites strung to each other, interwoven tightly and tied to wooden rods driven into the walls. Each kite stands at attention from the taught, pulled strings and vibrates and dances with any change in the wind (or the fanciful breath of the playful admirers.) Many seem like cartoonish landscapes, each kite a bulb of a swirling cloud or wave traveling along the surface of a sapphire blue ocean. Among the organic and ovular shapes, another more subtle work stands out in its geometric, dynamic lines like an ice colored, slender vertical waterfall of translucent paper bow-ties, sprinkled with a smattering of colored confetti.

On The Nature of Heroes, 2012 122 x 122 x 20 cm bamboo, paper, dacron, acrylic. Photo courtesy of Ronchini Gallery.

Incorporating craft, design, sculpture, installation and painterly abstraction, Hashimoto’s collective fluttering installations are buoyant, ethereal and celebratory – somehow traditional and modern at the same time. It is refreshing to say the least to attend an exhibition whose primary concern is with experiencing beauty. Hashimoto’s installation seemingly pours out into the street through the gallery’s windows to delight passerby’s and brighten the grey summer days of London.


Jacob Hashimoto, in collaboration with Studio La Città, 29 June – 28 August 2012.

Ronchini Gallery, 22 Dering Street – Mayfair, LONDON W1S 1AN +44 (0)20 7629 9188