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Lot 28: Mariko Mori (B. 1967)
February 8, 2001
London, United Kingdom
Description: The Beginning of the End, Tokyo Crystal print, wood, pewter frame 39 x 197 x 3in. (100 x 500 x 7.62cm.) Executed in 1995. PROVENANCE Deitch Projects, New York. LITERATURE 'Mariko Mori', Ostfildern-Ruit 1998 (illustrated in colour, pp.48-49). 'Mariko Mori-Esoteric Cosmos', Ostfildern-Ruit 1999 (detail illustrated, p.24). D. Palazzoli, 'Sentimento del 2000. Arte e foto: 1960/2000', Milan 1999 (illustrated in colour, p.193). NOTES Mariko Mori's art is about transcendence. From her early self-portraits as a robotic plaything or a sugar-coated plastic pop star to her more mystical and overtly Buddhist-inspired landscapes of enlightenment, the issue of human evolution, both bodily and spiritual, lies at the heart of her work. 'The Beginning of the End, Tokyo', 1995, stands in many ways at the centre of the progression of her work to date and is one that deliberately leaves open to question the nature of such transcendence. An enormous sixteen-foot crystal print photograph of a city square in the centre of Tokyo, 'The Beginning of the End, Tokyo' depicts the city as the epicentre of modern life. A panoramic expanse of artificial urban comfort with its litter-strewn streets and seemingly endless array of marketing information and packaging, the scene reflects the 'empty dream' of consumerist culture - the late twentieth century as a dead-end street. This panoramic strip of reality depicts the artificial world of the concrete jungle. The glossy accuracy of the photographic medium is deliberately used to highlight this sense of artificiality and encourage the viewer into questioning the reality of everything he or she sees. At the very centre of the work, a translucent pod containing a humanoid figure has appeared seemingly un-noticed by the busy city dwellers. This extraordinary science-fiction image aligned to the prophetic title of the work announces the imminent end of 'reality' as we know it. Mori leaves the question open as to whether this pod is the first in an alien invasion or a tool for human transcendence and evolutionary progress as in Stanley Kubrick's '2001 - A Space Odyssey'. Given the nature of Mori's later work, it seems most likely that the pod or 'body capsule' is an imaginary devise which is used to transport the mind and perhaps body of a person into a different dimension a higher plane of reality and away from the ugly sham world of consumerism that we all recognise in the Tokyo surroundings.