MOCA Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue
March 1 - June 8
This third and final rendition of Jacob Hashimoto’s two-story installation Gas Giant, 2014, includes thousands of small rice-paper disks, squares, diamonds, and other shapes, each supported by a thin bamboo frame and suspended from the ceiling by a delicate line. Repurposing parts from its earlier iterations, Gas Giant is an expansive and multifaceted sculptural collage that reaches thirty-four feet into the air, suspended from the upper level of the museum’s airy central space. Throughout, paper pieces are hung in clusters, each organized by color and shape—blue squares, white ovals, yellow hexagons. Together they appear like waves in a paper sea, clouds in a sculptural atmosphere, or, from another point of view, distinct neighborhoods in a playfully fabricated universe. Some of these groupings burst with colorful geometric or abstract designs. Tiny bits of brilliant green collaged onto squares hanging near the floor suggest grass, while multihued abstractions overhead could be likened to fields of flora or, in another light, miniature pop-up museums.
These microdesigns, together with the sheer multitude of suspended parts, emphasize the amount of labor involved in making and installing Gas Giant. The magnitude of Hashimoto’s effort, combined with the way the installation works with the space to gracefully engulf the audience, creates an impression often associated with such spaces as temples, cathedrals, or mosques. That said, the artist’s use of traditional Japanese materials and his choice to recycle parts from one project to the next suggest a more temporal sacred construction—a Shinto shrine, built from natural materials and, by tradition, torn down and remade every twenty years, or a Buddhist sand mandala, meticulously made from grains of sand before being released into the sea. Similarly, Gas Giant is both rigorously formal and fleetingly experiential. Like participatory art—or spiritual ritual—it must be experienced in situ.