Mariko Mori: Rebirth
Rebirth, the solo exhibition of New York-based Japanese artist Mariko Mori, is currently on display at the Royal Academy of Arts. Works compiled from 2004 to 2012 depict the artist’s spiritual relationship with the natural world through the technological forms of photography, drawing, sculpture, animation, film and installation. Through meditation, the artist reaches a creativity that allows her to visualise the “invisible world … between the natural and the humans”; the pieces on display aim to inspire us to achieve a new frame of mind that celebrates life, death, and rebirth through the life cycle of stars.
The Royal Academy is undergoing a transformation, made possible by the Burlington Project, a multi-million pound Heritage Lottery-funded development that seeks to promote the Academy as the foremost artist-led international centre for visual culture. Rebirth is situated in Burlington Gardens, directly behind the Royal Academy, yet the grand entrance hall promises every possibility of continuing that imposing history that the Academy is so proud of. The Burlington Project is the most important development for nearly 150 years, so the exhibitions at Burlington Gardens are hotly anticipated.
Mori’s work is mesmerising and majestic in places, in particular Tom Na H-iu II (2006) and White Hole. Incorporating the artist’s traditional and contemporary Japanese culture with Eastern and Western culture, the viewer journeys to the exhibition space through winding white corridors. In Tom Na H-iu II, you are enveloped in a slowly transforming light emitted from a sculpted pillar that pulses rhythmically, akin to breathing. White Hole, the representation of the death of a star, uses a hypnotic yet calming blue glow to represent the positivity of death – the infinite creation of new life emerging from the old.
Spiritual and holistic, Mori embraces technology to convey her engagement with the variety of cultures that surround her. The aesthetics of the LED lights, pearlescent globes and crystals all represent what the artist is trying to achieve: a “seed” state of meditative consciousness that occurs before awakening. It could be suggested that there is a reliance on the lights and materials in the artist’s other works to imitate this mysterious state. However, the real beauty of such exhibitions is that it remains purely subjective whether or not the depth of imagination required by the viewer is shared with the artist.
Rebirth is at the Royal Academy of Arts from 13th December 2012 until 17th February 2013. For further information or to book visit the gallery’s website here.