Apocalypse at the RA

With the end of 2012 only three weeks away, The Royal Academy couldn’t be more timely with its apocalyptic offering. The exhibition of Japanese artist Mariko Mori’s work has been scheduled to overlap with this year’s winter solstice, which according to an ancient Mayan prophecy, will either bring the end of the world or the dawn of a new age.

Mariko Mori, video still from Journey to Seven Lights bay,  2011
Mariko Mori, video still from Journey to Seven Lights bay, 2011

Mariko Mori: Rebirth showcases Mori’s most celebrated works from the last 11 years, many of which have never been seen in the UK.

Mariko Mori, Flat Stone, 2006
Mariko Mori, Flat Stone, 2006

The exhibition begins and ends with the birth and death of a star and explores ideas about the cycle of rebirth through various mediums, including large-scale installations, photographs, sound works, projections and drawings. 

Mariko Mori, White Hole,  2008
Mariko Mori, White Hole, 2008

Mori worked closely with Kathleen Soriano, director of exhibitions at the RA, to design a layout that is sensitive to the exhibition space and the experience of the spectator. Mori’s ‘Ring’ was installed beneath a tumbling waterfall in the mezzanine gallery and the spiral corridor leading to the entrance of ‘White Hole’ was purpose-built for the RA’s space.

Mariko Mori, Tom Na H-Iu, 2006
Mariko Mori, Tom Na H-Iu, 2006

While Mori is preoccupied with spirituality, many of her works are tied up with the scientific world. One such piece is ‘Tom Na H-iu’, a 5m-high luminous monolith which changes colour according to the movements of neutrinos, the particles emitted during a supernova. The neutrinos are monitored by a detector at the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research in Tokyo and then fed back to the hundreds of LED lights inside the giant monolith via the internet.

Mariko Mori, Transcircle, 2004
Mariko Mori, Transcircle, 2004

Mori’s ‘Transcircle’ resembles a kitsch Japanese garden with nine glowing stones arranged in a circle on a mound of smaller rocks. Each coloured stone represents one of the nine planets and its hue changes according to its corresponding planet’s position in the solar system.

Mariko Mori, Primal Memory, 2004
Mariko Mori, Primal Memory, 2004

Mariko Mori: Rebirth is at The Royal Academy, 6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S until 17 February 2013.

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