Mariko Mori at the Japan Society Panel on Art & Nature on 2010
|Born||1967 (age 49–50)
|Known for||Photography, digital art, sculpture|
|Notable work||Birth of a Star, Nirvana, Dream Temple, Wave-UFO, Pure Land, Tom Na-hui|
|Movement||Contemporary Art, Pop Art, environmental art|
|Awards||Menzione d’onore Venice Biennale, (1997)
8th Annual Award as a Promising Artist and Scholar in the Field of Contemporary Japanese Art, Japan Cultural Arts Foundation, (2001)
Mariko Mori was born in Tokyo in 1967. Mori's father is an inventor and real estate tycoon, and her mother is an art historian of European Art. While studying at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in the late 1980s, Mori worked as a fashion model. In 1989, she moved to London to study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and studied there until 1992. 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 splits her time between London, New York, and Tokyo.
Mori's early work references traditional Japanese culture and ancient history but is characterized by futuristic themes and characters. Her early photography is heavily influenced by cosplay. Fantastic deities, robots, alien creatures, and spaceships are featured in video and photography with the artist herself dressed up in various self-made costumes as these characters.
Present throughout her career is a fascination with technology and spirituality, with technology as a means of transcending and transforming consciousness and self.
While her tableaus were fantastic and futuristic, the role played by the female characters she portrayed were often traditional, gendered roles such as a waitress in Tea Ceremony, a futuristic version of the female Buddhist deity Kichijoten in Pure Land, or a female Japanese pop star in Birth of a Star.
Exhibitions and works
Mori's early works, such as her photograph Play with Me, use her own body as the subject, and she costumes herself as a 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Conceptualization and prototyping of the Wave UFO was realized during Mori's residency at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in Chelsea, New York.
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. One such example in this collection is "Flat Stones", which is a collection of ceramic rocks arranged similarly to a Jomon archaeological site.
In 2010, Mori founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Faou Foundation, (the word "faou" is a neologism created by Mori meaning "eternal light"). Mori is listed as founder and president of the organization. Inspired by Buddhism and ecology, the Faou Foundation's mission is to create six art installations around the world as homages to the natural environment of each locale.
- Hallmark, Kara Kelley. 2007. Encyclopedia of Asian American artists. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. p. 129.
- exhibit-E.com. "Sean Kelly Gallery - Mariko Mori - Artist Biography". www.skny.com. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
- "The Art of Mariko Mori | Kyoto Journal". www.kyotojournal.org. Retrieved 2016-03-07.
- 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.
- Deitch Projects
- Wave UFO at Eyebeam
- 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.
- Indrisek, Scott (May 2011). "Crystal Flag: Mariko Mori Wants To Bring Her Nature-Loving Art To Six Continents" (PDF). Modern Painters. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- "Faou Foundation". Faou. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Mariko Mori at Galerie Perrotin 
- Mariko Mori at Streaming Museum
- Exclusive Mariko Mori video
- Her sculpture Tom Na H-iu, driven by the Super-Kamiokande neutrino observatory
- Mori interview at the Journal of Contemporary Art
- Mariko Mori at Brooklyn Museum of Art: Review of exhibition Empty Dream, Asian Art News, November 1999
- Shibuya River Mori Profile with links
- Tea With Mariko at artnet.com
- Mariko Mori compared to Salvador Dali
- Mori profile at deitch.com
- Oneness exhibition at deitch.com
- Wave UFO at Eyebeam at eyebeam.org
- Mariko Mori: Dream Temple, 22 May – 15 Jun 1999, Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy
- Mariko Mori, Flatstone, exhibition, 28 March - 27 April 2013, de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong