| 2005 | Exhibition Essay
Hashimoto: Solo Exhibition in Two Parts
Part One: How
Comes It To Be Furnished?
Part Two: Return To Tabulae
by Suzette Munnik | Gallery Director
2005 | 26 x 22 inches | ceramic, book
photo credit: Yoshi Hashimoto
Functioning as both requiem and prelude,
How Comes It to be Furnished? marks a shift in the artist’s
orientation. Carefully elucidating the passage of past themes,
it lays the foundation for a deeper appreciation of the most recent
work. Conceived to be as spare and elegant as her impeccably nuanced
compositions, Part One distills the artist’s passionate
engagement with theme and process over the past 15 years into
a succinctly potent retrospective.
The show’s title references John
Locke’s 18th century ruminations on the links between experience
and the cognitive and affective development of the individual;
its content effectively chronicles the distinctly contemporary
evolution of the ceramic-based book works for which Hashimoto
is best known - from their inception as bound, three-dimensional,
clay-impregnated and incinerated manga comics, made during
the artist’s seven-year sojourn in Japan, through their
transformation into enigmatic, wafer-thin tablets of clay. Poignantly
bearing the stigmata of trial by fire, these ceramic works are
additionally contextualised by the juxtaposition of photographic
images and fragments of early and late sculptural installations.
The astonishing contrast between the visceral
physicality of Hashimoto’s multi-media practice and the
sublime refinement of the works on show is amplified by the inclusion
of a documentary video presentation by Carlos F. Grasso.
Tabula Rasa (Latin: "scraped tablet")
is often translated as "blank slate". An empirical premise
positing experience as the sole author of identity, applied metaphorically,
the term implies the blank slate of pre-cognition; potentiality
In Return to Tabulae Rasae, Part
Two of Barbara Hashimoto's solo show at Xiem Gallery, this critically
acclaimed LA-based artist presents a new body of work. Hashimoto's
15-year exploration of the book form evolved - through sculpture,
performance and installation, from the initial censoring, binding,
incineration and final cracking open of fired ceramic books, to
evocative constructions of neo-narrative ceramic tablets. Relinquishing
such narrative accretion to explore the dynamics of erasure, in
this show the artist eschews cultural critique in favor of a liminal
exploration of the "scraped tablet" and succeeds masterfully
in rendering literal translation figurative.
Return To Tabulae Rasae says more
with less. Interrogating essence and conflating space with time,
Hashimoto illuminates the theme of personal odyssey and dares
to postulate, via the absence of presence, an absence of absence.
Reflecting on her choice of titles How
Comes It To Be Furnished? and Return to Tabulae Rasae,
the artist cites John Locke (1632-1704), credited with initiating
the concept of the Tabula Rasa, or blank slate, as a preliminary
stage of cognitive and affective development. The following lines
are from John Locke's "Essay Concerning Human Understanding":
Let us then suppose the mind to be, as we say, white paper void
of all characters, without any ideas. How comes it to be furnished?
Whence comes it by that vast store which the busy and boundless
fancy of man has painted on it with an almost endless variety?
Whence has it all the materials of reason and knowledge? To
this I answer, in one word, experience.