Critics’ Picks

Jacob Hashimoto, The Eclipse (detail), 2017, cotton, paper, bamboo, silk-screen print, dimensions variable. Installation view.


Jacob Hashimoto

Leila Heller Gallery | Dubai
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1
September 21–November 4, 2017

The Eclipse, 2017, a large-scale installation of black and white paper circles, dangles from the gallery’s ceiling in a heavy cloud formation. This fragile work offers a soft shadow play that belies its ominous presence. The undulating mass seems to hang in wait: It is both menacing and beckoning. It is a monumental embodiment of the sublime—terrifyingly beautiful—and also indicates Jacob Hashimoto’s inclination toward the technological age.

The rest of the works in this exhibition present an aggressive aesthetic dissonance that interrupts any individual narrative. Across two of the three gallery halls, a series of mostly small rectangular wall reliefs of frenetic layers of lurid polygons portrays patterns, clouds, and trees that evoke overcrowded metropolises and a deep, discombobulating dive into pixelated TV displays. These pieces, moreover, recall frozen chromatic shards of information on screens, perhaps in the midst of self-destruction. They are sedated only by Hashimoto’s use of thread to suspend the delicate paper forms and harness their energy.

Hashimoto’s offering of dueling digital-analog experiences may feel like a threshold rife with an addictive feeling—all dopamine-inducing fun and games—but The Eclipse still looms in the corner. It is a reminder of the threat of unpredictability and of technology’s capacity to reproduce, replace, and, ultimately, erase.