The Art of Mariko Mori: The Use of Body as a Subject Matter to Represent Issues of Identity and Culture in Her Society

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How has the artist used the body as a subject matter to represent issues of identity ad culture in his/her society?

Mariko Mori (born in Tokyo in 1967) is considered one of the major young representatives in the contemporary art scene. She worked as a fashion designer before and this inspired many of her later works. Mariko Mori uses her body to explore the "instability of identity" by presenting herself in glittering, self-designed costumes in extremely out of the world settings, juxtaposing reality and fantasy. She approaches her work in a rather narcissistic way, documenting herself as different images, taking on different identities and roles to convey her intentions in her artworks. Her works is a mixture of culture and technology,
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Thus, this work suggests that her character is probably taking off to seek for enlightenment, in other words, the fulfillment of one’s inner spirit and thus aiming to be a perfect being.

Miko no Inori
1996

This is shown in the way she dresses her character, as one not of this world, hinting at the spiritual part of an individual. Since she believes that human beings have both a material and spiritual part of themselves, there is a possibility that she is suggesting that we as individuals have to seek inside us to find our spiritual beings and use it as a way of self-transformation and renewal. Also, with the setting being one of the future and in a world almost unreal, she suggests that this transformation is something innate and that in the future, we can learn to become a better, more perfect being by getting in touch with our spiritual side.

On the other hand, her character and her very own identity also question the intention of her artwork. Being a Japanese in a Western society, she is more open to the views of culture and religion, being exposed to both the Western and Eastern philosophy and thus gaining insights of both. In this artwork, she uses pop culture such as manga to influence the dressing of her character. By unifying both a philosophy from the East and her environment from the West, she could also suggest that in the future, people will become more mobile and perhaps, we will become more like one being as cultural boundaries

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