From August 31 to November 14, 2021, Japan House São Paulo will feature a brand new solo exhibition of the visual artist Yuko Mohri titled “Parade (a Drip, a Drop, the End of the Tale)”. The delicate, but powerful installations by the Japanese artist present ideas such as transience and impermanence, concepts that are very present in the Japanese culture, creating ecosystems composed of kinetic and sound sculptures. This exhibition is part of the collaboration network of the 34th São Paulo Biennial – Though it is dark, I still sing, which is scheduled to begin on September 4.
The beauty in the ordinary
The exhibit has two of her main works as its starting point: Parade and Moré Moré. The “Parade (a Drip, a Drop, the End of the Tale)”. is an installation created especially for Japan House São Paulo, and exalts the Japanese philosophy of [you no bi], bringing new meaning to objects and utensils that are common in her works, highlighting the beautiful in the ordinary. By the Japanese philosopher Soetsu Yanagi (1889-1961), the [you no bi] concept values the “beauty of everyday objects.”
The delicate balance in the works of the young artist, who currently teaches at the Tokyo University of Arts, is the result of years of research in collaboration with professionals from different areas. Parade consists of a machine the artist developed with the help of engineers that is based on an open source electronic prototyping card that reads the drawings of a tablecloth printed with colorful fruits. The images are translated into electrical currents that travel along several wires, causing unexpected reactions like a light that turns on and off, dusters that bounce on the floor, an accordion that seems to take on a life of its own. The various objects that make up the work are the result of collections Yuko made around the world. This ecosystem the artist created was inspired by the botanical garden that Yuko used to frequent as a child, where she observed the semi-artificial nature and its transformation at different times of the year.
About Moré Moré
Also within the issues involving impermanence and transience, recurring themes in her trajectory, the work incorporates elements from the Moré Moré series, in which Yuko purposely causes leaks, then tries to block them and cause water to circulate again through the damaged system. The idea came from the artist’s photographic records of frequent water leaks in the Tokyo subway, in 2009. The teams at the affected stations used a variety of containers, among which bottles, buckets, umbrellas, and pipes to contain the flow. While observing this event, the artist was inspired to create her own sculptures, which became increasingly elaborate over the years.
A tribute to Tom Jobim’s composition, “Parade (a Drip, a Drop, the End of the Tale)” is the artist’s reinterpretation of her own work, a tropicalized version based on the relationship she established between the objects in her installation and the lyrics of the famous song.
Natasha Barzaghi Geenen, Japan House São Paulo’s Cultural Director and curator of the individual exhibit, says “Yuko’s projects explore ideas of energy and intangible force, investigate gravity, magnetism, and light as factors of perceptible presence in previously unoccupied spaces. The idea is to cause curiosity and wonder, with objects removed from their primary functions and sewn together in a poetic web, valued in this spatial collage, making us more aware of our surroundings.” Seeking to create equitable opportunities for all audiences, the “Parade (a Drip, a Drop, the End of the Tale)” exhibit has accessibility features, such as an audio description, sign language, and tactile elements.
The peculiar and renowned art of Yuko Mohri
Yuko Mohri’s unique art has earned her recognition in countries like Japan, France, and England, and has only grown in recent years. Among the exhibitions, standing out are her individual ones, SP. by yuko mohri (Ginza Sony Park, Tokyo, 2020) and Volute (Camden Art Centre, London, 2018), as well as her participation in the collective exhibitions Japanorama: New Vision on Art since 1970 (Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, 2017), and at Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon 2017 (France).
In 2015 she was awarded the grand prize at the “Nissan Art Award” and, in 2016, the “Culture and Future Prize” at the “Kanagawa Culture Award.” The following year, she was granted the Best Young Artist Award of the Japanese government’s “67th Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts.” In 2018, she was chosen to be the Japanese representative of the Japanese government’s Cultural Affairs Agency’s Cultural Exchange Program for East Asia, when she spent some time in China.
Guest artist of the 34th São Paulo Art Biennial
This year, Yuko is also among the international artists invited to participate in the 34th São Paulo Art Biennial, which is scheduled for September 4th to December 5th, at the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, at the Ibirapuera Park. The artist was also present at the Vento group exhibition, held in 2020 as part of the program of the 34th Biennial.
More than a recognition of the young artist’s relevance, the collaboration between the two cultural institutions represents a recognition of the relevance of the work Japan House São Paulo has done, since 2006, disseminating the Japanese culture and art in Brazil, since the Biennial no longer works with national representations. “This is a double opportunity for the audience to have a broader understanding of and contact with Yuko’s works, both at the Japan House São Paulo exhibition, in August, and at the 34th Biennial exhibition”, says Natasha Barzaghi Geenen.