Clouds have played a variety of roles as a visual element in the arts of Asia across time. As a stylized motif, clouds have often functioned as a framing device, an interstitial motif, or compositional boundary in paintings. A cloud could conjure anything from a celestial Daoist realm to lingzhi, medicinal mushrooms of immortality once believed to revive the dead. The generative and auspicious potential of clouds has long existed in the history of art. The amorphous nature of mist in dialogue with the tangible and rigid has long inspired the work of artists, designers, and architects, from Fujiko Nakaya’s cloud paintings and fog sculptures, to Diller and Scofidio’s Blur Building in Lake Neuchâtel. In today’s era of big data, clouds have also come to represent the negligibly small, where modular bits of information are now amassed into infinitely scalable systems that function at a distance, removed from sight but still lingering overhead.
This exhibition’s central work, Nuvole (2006-2018) — which literally means clouds — explores these formal traditions and looks at how clouds can function as divisions of space while still serving as the apotheosis of ethereal formlessness. Like clouds of our digital age, Hashimoto’s sculpture shows how there is much to be found in both the intricate detail of minute components and the large-scale meanings that can result from their accumulation. The work weaves around the gallery’s architecture and over major artworks from the museum’s permanent collection, to serve as both helpful foil as well as a meditation on the continuum of human expression. For more than a decade, Hashimoto has re-used many of his discs in his various site-specific installations around the world. Each time, each disc is newly looped, rhythmically tied and hung, existing briefly together to form a greater whole. Through the staging and spectacle of this giant cloud, we are reminded of the voices of progenitors, and how our individual accretion of effort, experience, and value in the arc of human experience is shared.
Nuvole is joined by a selection of Hashimoto’s woodblock and intaglio works in Gallery IV. Created over the last three years in collaboration with Durham Press in Pennsylvania and Mixografia in Los Angeles, these works are now being exhibited for the first time in a U.S. museum. They are combined with several wall works from the artist’s own collection. These graphic works illustrate the range and depth of Hashimoto’s work, and point to the generative and collaborative relationships and creative conversations that have occurred between artists over time. Jacob Hashimoto was born in Greeley, Colorado in 1973 and is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Queens, New York. Hashimoto has been featured in solo museum exhibitions at MOCA Paciﬁc Design Center in Los Angeles, MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice, LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Schauwerk Sindleﬁngen in Germany, and the Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art in Finland. He has also had solo shows at Mary Boone Gallery in New York, Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Studio la Città in Verona, Galerie Forsblom in Helsinki, Anglim Gilbert Gallery in San Francisco, and Leila Heller Gallery in Dubai, among others. His work is in the collections of LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art, EMMA – Saastamoinen Foundation, Schauwerk Sindelﬁngen, The California Endowment, and numerous other public collections.