Jacob Hashimoto

Born 1973 | Lives and works in New York


Kites have been made in China since at least the 6th century, but their history may go back much further. In East Asia light bamboo, silk and paper were available as kite materials. Kites have been defying gravity for very different reasons throughout their history. Today, kites are associated with sport, leisure time and dolce far niente– sweet idleness. Kites are vehicles of optimism.


Behind Hashimoto’s kites is the Japanese handicraft tradition, complemented by the Thai, Indian and British kite traditions. But his ethereal kites do not fly. They are circular, elliptical, square or hexahedron-shaped modules, fundamental image-units, which when combined can grow into large spatial installations.


Hashimoto’s materially light and airy art explores the boundary between sculpture and painting, along with questions of abstraction and figuration. Even as abstracts his works contain landscape-like features. 


Seeking to achieve visual impact, experiential immersiveness, generates paradoxes. The “sculpture” can be monumental in scale, and yet airily light, almost weightless. It hangs in the air and does not even touch the floor. We can walk into the artwork. The air currents caused by the viewer’s movements ruffle the work, while the changing light gives it shape.


Hashimoto’s art can be approached in different ways. According to a more formalistic reading, the works are about his long-standing interest in the points of intersection between painting and sculpture, and between the landscape and abstraction. Hashimoto is interested not only in architectural space and variations on it, but also in the 3D-kinaesthetics of computer games. The kite-like elements can be seen as being pixels. The interconnected kites form clusters of different colours, out of which enormous mechanisms of movement are constructed, and then shaped by the ever-changing light and motion.