From the interactive sculpture corresponding to supernova explosions in far reaches of the galaxy, to installations inspired by Jomon-era stone circles, the work of Mariko Mori reconciles the past with the future and gives shape to an invisible energy that saturates the universe. For Mori, the recent change and sudden halt of life in lockdown was an opportunity to sharpen her sensitivity to the invisible and her on-going quest for 'inner light' amidst the darkness. Incorporating her latest work born of the pandemic period, the exhibition entails the artist's abstract philosophical, scientific, and transcendental visions cherished thus far, culminating in a discovery of light central to our spiritual existence through quiet, profound contemplation.
Standing gracefully at the center of the exhibition is Divine Stone VI (2019-), Mori's latest 1.2 meter-high acrylic sculpture akin to a giant mineral or faceted gemstone. Its hard, transparent surface is created by applying dichroic coating, engineered to split particular wavelengths of light, while accentuating a colour spectrum. The artist was involved in this development process, and conceived the work after field research on iwakura, the sacred rocks and site of rituals for gods' descent in ancient Japanese animism. The sculpture presents a symbolic gesture for the material existence of light, and stands in the form of a 'crystalised' rock: it projects an undulating color spectrum depending on the viewer's angle and the quality of surrounding light, as if purifying the surrounding environment. Its sheer combination of colors and dynamic form embraces diversity in techno-spiritual aesthetic, and manifests as a contemporary monument of light towards a heightened sense of divinity.
Mounted in circular-shaped aluminium encasing, Radiant Being (2019) is Mori's latest series of drawings with metallic pastel pigments processed through three-dimensional computer graphics. Just as an aurora's plasma particles collide with atoms and glow in the atmosphere, a variation of soft colors from light purple to pale blue and pink appear in the shapes of circles and spheres to form a unity and to radiate—creating a world of metaphysical imagery, profound and suggestive. Mori's minimalist principles using space and light, as well as her warm delicate approach to material figuration, are evident in these sci-fi drawings giving depth to both space and time. Mirroring the artist's mind and documenting the process of evolution from personal meditation to realisation of the vast cosmic realm, Radiant Being becomes a record of Mori's intimate dialogue. The work also lends abstract and universal spiritual images imbued in anyone's mind—or an abstract scenery of divinity imprinted deep in our primordial psyche.
A digital version of Dream Temple (1997–1999), a source of inspiration for 'Central', will be released online for the duration of the exhibition period to facilitate the viewer's own transcendental experience.
Latest science suggests that 96% of the universe is made from invisible energy. Cross-referencing the celestial and the terrestrial, the East and West, the past and the future, Mariko Mori reconciles these oppositions and transcended the boundaries of mediums and research fields. Mori continues her long-standing quest and attempts in this exhibition, where the center of this pervasive, invisible energy is expressed conversely as light. In time of deepening economic and environmental crises that diminish material society, the exhibition delivers a pertinent call for a rebirth guided by an 'inner light', and a renewed interpretation of light itself that shines in the invisible.
Press release courtesy SCAI The Bathhouse.