This story is over 5 years old.


Mariko Mori Explores Infinity Through Sculpture

With dual shows in New York and Japan, the artist that made her name with UFOs and robots taps spirituality and the natural realm for inspiration.

Mariko Mori first made her grand entrance into the art world in the mid 90’s by juxtaposing the hyper-futuristic and fantastical with the more mundane elements of contemporary Japanese culture. For her newest offerings, simultaneous openings at the Japan society in NYC (Rebirth) and the Louis Vuitton Espace in Tokyo (Infinite Renew), the creator instead chose to utilize the natural and spiritual worlds for inspiration. Above, we visit Mori at the site of her solo exhibition at Espace to discuss transcendence, reconnecting to nature, and the idea of a human internet.


©Louis Vuitton / Jérémie Souteyrat. Courtesy of Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo.

The daughter of an art historian and an inventor, Mori's propensity towards experimentation and aesthetic thinking came naturally, and after studying art at the Chelsea College of Art & Design in London (1989-92) and the Whitney Museum of Art (1992-93), Mori committed herself full time to her craft. Splashing onto the scene with projects like Empty Dream (1995) in which the artist donned a blue plastic mermaid costume and manipulated herself into a series of images shot at public pools, Mori has also channeled a sexy cyborg (Play With Me, 1994) and an alien using public transportation (Subway, 1994). Garnering comparisons to Cindy Sherman for her ability to enigmatically place herself into various pop-culture contexts, Mori began shifting closer to the spiritual with films like Miko no Inori/The Shaman-Girl's Prayer (1996), Nirvana (1996-97), and her photomural collection Esoteric Cosmis (1996-98), in which Mori transformed herself into an alien goddess surveying the earth's surface.

Empty Dream (2005). Though Mori has always explored the ideas of cultural and aesthetical conflicts, her work has now evolved to encompass the duality between eastern mythology and religion, and the science, technology, and fashions of Western culture.

Infinite Energy I, II, III, 2013, Fiberglass, mirror, LED, real-time control system, 1900mmØ x 7800mm
Work with the support of Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo © Mariko Mori.


The mysterious stars of Mori's Infinite Renew, running September 28th-January 5th at Espace, are a series of otherworldly, yet oddly comforting spirals based on the Möbius strip that inhabit the gallery like mythic creatures. Meant to invoke questions about the shape and make up of our universe, the space takes on the appearance of a sci-fi set, with each spiral representing the infiniteness of existence.

Work with the support of Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo © Mariko Mori.

Working with the concept that 96% of our universe is made up of invisible energy, Mori wonders through her pieces if we ourselves aren't also made of this same energy.

For Rebirth, Mori's other exhibition this fall (October 11th-January 12th at the Japan Society), the artist turns the gallery space into a capsulated circle of life as 35 sculptures, drawings, photographs, sound, and video works are curated to tell the story of birth, death, and rebirth—a continuous circle of energy that affects all living entities.