Sunday, 03 February 2013 19:40
Tea and Scones:
I’m a big fan of the Japanese artist Mariko Mori and was pleased as pie to learn that she was holding her first exhibition in London in well over a decade – and the best bit – it was only 5 minutes from my work!
Mori ‘s art is a seamless mix of tradition and technology. While eastern spiritually feature heavily in her creations, her tools are those of the 21st century. Her photographs, installations, sound-scapes and sculptures are veritable digital playgrounds of a futuristic landscape to explore. Instantly recalling popular Japanese animated culture, her work is like Sailor Moon meets Mother Nature.
In Mori’s current exhibition Rebirth, showing at the Royal Academy London until February 17, the New York based artist takes her cue from the cyclical nature of life and death.
One of the most impressive pieces of the exhibition is typically alien in appearance. Titled Tom Na H-Lu II (2006), it is an imposing glass monolith with science at its core. Connected to a computer in Japan that records energy from a supernova (death of a star) in space, this beautiful statue comes alive as hundreds of LED lights react to an event that occurred in a distant solar system.
Persistent throughout this exhibition is a blanketing calm. Several dark rooms with pods pulsating soft light in hypnotic rhythms keep me in a state of Zen. Their circular formations are based on prehistoric ceremonial sights such as Stonehenge in England and Jomon culture in Japan and emphasise a circle theme both physically and metaphorically. Added to this the clean, white palette suggests a purity that feels entirely otherworldly and at the same time like being inside a big ovarian filled womb.
As her voice sweetly narrates over a film explaining her site-specific artwork ‘Sun Pillar’, 2011, it is clear that Mariko Mori intends to combine the celestial with the terrestrial. Her world is quite simply heaven on earth.