Visualizing an Endless Universe: Mariko Mori Makes the Cosmos Life-Size

Posted: March 20, 2015 at 11:43 pm


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Its been two decades since Japanese artist Mariko Mori burst onto the New York art scene. In the years since, she has become one the most recognizable female artists from Japan, with solo shows at the Brooklyn Museum, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Japan Society, the MCA Chicago, and the Serpentine Gallery, among others. Her early manga-infused imagery, laden with futuristic costumes, high-tech architecture, and fringe elements of Japanese pop culture caught the attention of the International art scene, but where she started is not where shes at today. Shes evolved, and her transition into more meditative, spiritual territory is both refreshing, and reflected in the work itself.

On Friday she will open her first show with Sean Kelly gallery, exhibiting all new work and unveiling pieces based on scientific research now reproduced on a grand scale. The large-scale sculpture works touch on human connections to nature, the mysteries of the universe, personal spirituality, and environmental awareness.

Cyclicscape will feature ten new sculptures in Mobius forms (an endless one-sided surface with no boundaries) that explore alternative theories of the origins of the universe. Its a heady subject, but the works themselvesproducts of Ms. Moris imagination and extensive research on string theory and ekpyrotic cosmologyare elegant visualizations of otherwise abstract and daunting subjects.

Over mochiand matcha tea in her studio, Ms. Mori patiently explained the science behind the undulating and delicately glittering sculptures. (One hung on the wall above us, a greyish pink ribbon that widened and narrowed as itlooped back in on itself).

The idea of the Big Bang really made sense for everything, but after the discovery of black holes and the introduction of string theory, physicists realized that it doesnt really make sense that we came from nothingness, she told the Observer.

Instead, Ms. Mori bases the repeating forms in her sculptures on the theory that the universe is filled with infinite cycles of energy, and even parallel universes. The sculptures represent these ideas on the largest scale possible.

I wanted to scale up to universe level, she said pointing to a wide section of the hanging sculpture that abruptly narrows before widening again.

Its quite abstract, and while it looks as though this could be the end of the form, theres actually no end and then it starts over again, she said.

The works on view may play on theories of multi-universes, but only represent variations on our own. Pre-existing imagery of the theories themselves are few and far between, and Ms. Mori doesnt look to visual examples by others, instead just relies on the science.

From books your imagination can expand more, but when you look at a picture thats the end, in a way, she said.

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Visualizing an Endless Universe: Mariko Mori Makes the Cosmos Life-Size

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March 20th, 2015 at 11:43 pm