Participating artist in Art Through the Eye of the Needle: Mariko Mori
With Kumano, 1998, Mariko Mori poses as an otherworldly goddess floating effortlessly in the mist of a shaded forest. In an imagined Shangri-La, respect for Japanese tradition and nature is coupled with her fascination for the future and technological wizardry. The fashion codes of a traditional past are married with the digital codes of the new century. Whether she dances a slow spiritual dance, floats like an angel, or performs a futuristic tea ceremony, she captures our full and undivided attention. She casts the spell of a true artist, drawing us into her make-believe world where symbols of the past and the future, East and West, are brought together in a dreamlike utopian environment. In contrast to her earlier fashion photographs, which referred specifically to Japanese culture, Kumano relates to an entirely imaginary world not tied to any social structures. It conveys Mariko Mori’s belief in the interconnectivity of all things in the universe. It is a sort of cyber-spiritual environment where image is everything and fashion plays a transformative role. Mariko Mori can play the role of either vacuous cyber-chick or spiritual goddess, without bursting the bubble of her celluloid existence. From her early teen-world portraits to the world of hyper-reality, from comic figure to diva, she directs our attention at image. Whether she appears in Tang Dynasty robes amongst an array of cutesy Pokémon-like figures, or whether she presents herself as teenybopper fashion addict, she always does it with humor and reflection.