Mariko Mori

Artvehicle 3/Review

9th October 2006 — 22nd December 2006

Mori's exhibition at the Albion is based in two separate spaces, which, despite being separated from one another by a large concrete concourse are in fact part of the same building on the South Bank in Battersea. The building's steel and glass curves sweep their way overhead; one of many such new enormous blocks of residential and office space that have come to dominate the horizon in this part of south London; generic, cold and vacant.

In the downstairs of an otherwise (seemingly) empty building, an space hired specifically for the exhibition, Tom na H-iu is presented. It is a 4.5metre glass sculpture, within which LCD lights burn and slowly change colour and place, creating a quiet, glowing light orb. The work has been inspired by prehistoric Celtic stones within which souls spent time before being reborn. In contrast, the movement of the glowing orb before us, occurs in precise pattern designated by a remote link to the Institute for Cosmic Ray Research at the University of Tokyo. The work certainly has a quiet hypnotic feel to it, but somehow, it never convincingly stands up as a contemporary quasi-religious icon nor does it portray a vision of the future - except perhaps one that is a cold pastiche of its surroundings.

Across the way, Mori presents Link and Beginning of the End: Past, Present, Future. Link is a four-screen projection documenting performances that will go on to make the work that is Beginning of the End: Past, Present, Future. In all scenarios Mori is shown mediating in a clear Plexiglas bubble, often dressed in head-to-toe spandex - a kind of speed-skateresque costume. In the series Past, she is outside ancient monuments, in Cambodia, Bolivia, Egypt: for Present, she is in Piccadilly Circus, Times Square or Shibuya: Future shows Mori by her idea of symbols of the future, London's Docklands, Shanghai or La Defense, Paris. Beginning of the End. presents these performances as photographs on the inside of three large circular rings, suspended from the ceiling. The gallery creates an impressive approach to the works, its long, low walkway making the installation appear dramatically, piecemeal; not revealing itself until the last moment. The effect is, however, meretricious and lacking in subtly; the pod is unconvincing and the visual paradoxes crude. Ostensibly, Mori's work here acts as an attempt to blend the ancient with the modern in order to unpick contradictions in contemporary Japanese culture. However, it only manages to do this in its own periphery - in looking at how different audiences react to the generic performance and in highlighting where cultural differences lie in the face of the materials of global consumerism rather than in looking straight on at easy visual juxtapositions which seem to indicate little beyond the dichotomy of historical depth versus contemporary shallow.


8 Hester Road
London SW11 4A

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Saturday, 10am-3pm

Mariko Mori — Moriko
            Mori  Beginning of the End, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 2006  Courtesy of
            Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris and ALBION, London

Moriko Mori
Beginning of the End, Angkor Wat, Cambodia, 2006
Courtesy of Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris and ALBION, London