Mariko Mori

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For the Japanese volleyball player, see Mariko Mori (volleyball).
Mariko Mori
森 万里子
Mori Mariko at the Japan Society Panel on Art & Nature 2010.jpg
Mariko Mori at the Japan Society Panel on Art & Nature on 2010
Born 1967 (age 48–49)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japanese
Known for Photography and Media art
Movement Contemporary Art

Mariko Mori (森 万里子 Mori Mariko?, born 1967) is a contemporary Japanese video and photographic artist.


Mariko Mori was born in Tokyo in 1967. Mori's father is an inventor and real estate tycoon, and her mother is a Historian of European Art. While studying at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in the late 1980s, Mori worked as a fashion model. It was at that time that she had her first exhibitions. In 1989, she moved to London to study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and studied there until 1992.[1] After graduating, she moved to New York City and she participated in the Independent Study program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Mariko Mori now resides in London with her family.

Exhibitions and works[edit]

Mori's early works, such as her photograph Play with Me, use her own body as the subject, and she costumes herself as sexualized, technological alien woman in everyday scenes.

The juxtaposition of Eastern mythology with Western culture is a common theme in Mori's works, often through layering photography and digital imaging, such as in her 1995 installation Birth of a Star. Later works, such as Nirvana show her as a goddess, transcending her early roles via technology and image, and abandoning realistic urban scenes for more alien landscapes. Birth of stars

Play With Me (1994): Standing outside a Tokyo toy store, Mori dressed herself as a sexy cyborg—with light blue hair in long ponytails, metallic blue plastic in a hard-shell articulation of erotic body parts, silver plastic gloves, and a dress. Mori was trying to show that she connects to the robotic toys inside the store, but also to show her available unemotional sexuality.[2]

Subway (1994): Mori stood in a Tokyo subway car dressed as if she just landed from outer space. She was dressed in a silver metallic costume with a headset, microphone, and push-buttons on her forearm. This transformation—along with Play With Me—was to explore different constructed identities.[2]

Empty Dream (1995): Mori manipulates a photo of a real public swimming place as she inserts herself in a blue plastic mermaid costume in several locations within the scene. This image refers to, among other things, the rising of technology and philosophy around the creation of man through biotechnology.[2]

Oneness (2002): Oneness presents the dimensions of spirituality, photography and fashion into a deep look on the originality of the artist's skill hence the usage of technology's brand new trends. The outlook designs of Oneness gathers the capacity nevertheless the hability to use advanced technology knowledge converted to some sort of mystic and UFO's.[3]

Including in Oneness you can find some sub-works such as the Wave-UFO, a 6.000 kg dome where the visitor, once inside it, can see projected paintings reworked with computer graphics and then transformed into photographs in the interior dome of the Wave UFO.[3] Conceptualization and prototyping of the Wave UFO was realized during Mori's residency at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in Chelsea, New York.[4]

Rebirth is an exhibition from works spanning a number of years that was first shown in London at the Royal Academy of Art and came to Japan Society in New York City in 2013. It is seen as a major departure from her previous work in that has far less to do with contemporary media and influences. It is far more abstract and "buddhist". One such example in this collection is "Flat Stones", which is a collection of ceramic rocks arranged similarly to a Jomon archaeological site.[5]


  1. ^ Hallmark, Kara Kelley. 2007. Encyclopedia of Asian American artists. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 129.
  2. ^ a b c Fineberg, Jonathan (2000). Art Since 1940. Strategies of Being (paperback) (Second ed.). Upper Saddle, New Jersey: Prentice Hill Publishers. pp. 494–5. ISBN 0-13-183978-0. 
  3. ^ a b Deitch Projects
  4. ^ Wave UFO at Eyebeam
  5. ^ Rosenberg, Karen (October 10, 2013). "A Turnabout From Manga to Zen ‘Rebirth: Recent Work by Mariko Mori,’ at Japan Society". New York Times. Retrieved March 7, 2015. 

External links[edit]