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Escape From Reality with Mariko Mori

– by Stephanie Lyon

Mariko Mori’s ‘Rebirth’ transforms the Art Gallery of Western Australia into a tranquil world of peaceful meditation as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. Japanese artist Mariko Mori takes us on an immersive journey of LED lights, installations, photographs, sound, vision, and traditional works; in her first solo exhibition on Australian soil.

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Ring by Mariko Mori 2012 / Photo credit: Art Gallery of Western Australia Website

I was intrigued by the first glimpses of ‘Ring’, a lucite circle which hangs over a cascading waterfall in the exhibits entrance. I had never seen water utilised in art within a gallery space before and I had to stop to appreciate the concept. Closing my eyes I could hear the water falling and imagine I was strolling through a Japanese garden under the cherry blossom trees. I could breathe a little lighter, and my worries subsided for a little while as I embarked on the spiritual journey through time and space that is ‘Rebirth’.

We travel back to the past as Mori utilises her extensive fieldwork in the prehistoric archaeological sites throughout Japan. Mori creates intricate rock formations in both the gallery and in her natural surroundings in harmony with nature; rivalling the stone structures ancient civilisations used as places of worship. Of particular note is ‘Transcircle 1.1’ a gallery installation where corian LED light structures individually light up in hues of purple, pink, and blue.

The present catches up with us and we are encouraged to reflect on our path in the world with ‘Miracle.’ A stunning installation where seven cibachrome plates hang on the wall framed with diachroic glass. The use of colour and shape is sublime as the frames cast a whole spectrum of colours which alternate as our perspective changes; while their shapes are reflected in a beautiful emerald green beneath our feet.

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White Hole by Mariko Mori 2008 – 2010 / Photo credit: Art Gallery of Western Australia Website

We are cast into the future with ‘White Hole’. The installation sees us walking through a narrow hallway to a small circular room where acrylic, LED lights, and a control system are used to show the process of a star travelling through a black hole and being reborn. The vision is reminiscent of a computer screensaver, but the process invokes feelings of confusion and disorientation as we make our way back out the winding hallway in which we entered. The same feelings I would associate with returning to life after death.

It’s conclusion provides us with an exciting preview of Mori’s new project ‘Primal Rhythm’ which will see Mori creating a unique installation on each of the world’s six habitable continents. The preview contains photographs and video of the first installation in Asia which utilises two sun pillars and a moonstone to symbolise the solstice of rebirth. The South American installation is currently underway honouring the rising sun; and I look forward to finding out what the Australian installation entails in the future.

It’s impossible for me to cover every highlight of ‘Rebirth’. Instead, I strongly recommend this inspiring exhibition to everyone who finds themselves in Perth; from art enthusiasts, tourists, and general wanderers. If you want to escape reality for a while this is the experience for you.

LOCATION: Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre
OPENING HOURS: Open Wed – Monday 10am – 5pm, until June 29

Photo credit: Transcircle 1.1 by Mariko Mori 2004 / Perth International Arts Festival.

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