The path to a collective spirituality in the art of Mori Mariko
Among the most successful Japanese artists working internationally, Mori Mariko (b. 1967, Tokyo) has distinguished herself on the contemporary art scene for her multi-disciplinary practice that continuously experiments with different techniques and concepts. During her very active career, and particularly around the turn of the century, a shift can be noticed from the rather pop imagery of her earlier works to an exploration of religious, sacred, and spiritual themes, a progressive transformation that has developed in multiple directions until the present moment. The references included in her artworks often merge indigenous religions, Shinto, and Buddhism, doctrines that she perceives as ways to reflect on broader aspects of life, nature, and the humankind at large.
This article traces an overview of some of the most important works realized by Mori during the past three decades, which are grouped both thematically and chronologically: the early photographs and performances; the pieces inspired by Tantric Buddhism, with strong connections to traditional Buddhist art; the big-scale installations, with a shift towards sacred architecture; the projects encouraging the interconnectedness between different people, as well as a rediscovery of their roots; and finally, the outdoor installations that celebrate nature and Earth.