in Frieze Seoul , Videos | 09 SEP 23

Yuko Mohri: Composing With Invisible Phenomena

The Tokyo-based artist tracks the fluctuations of the world around us, from dust and light to rotting fruit

in Frieze Seoul , Videos | 09 SEP 23
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For Frieze Seoul 2023, Yutaka Kikutake Gallery restages several of Yuko Mohri’s celebrated installations, including I/O (or Hitokuchi), which was also recently presented at the 14th Gwangju Biennale to much acclaim.

an installation of wooden beams and big loops of white paper
Yukho Mohri, I/O, 2011-. Image courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery

This particular piece marked the beginning of Mohri’s series of works that flexibly adapt to different display conditions. Long loops of paper cascade from above, slowlying brush the floor and collecting dust and other debris. Their traces are scanned as though musical notations and translated into random input/output of electric signals, setting various objects in motion. The paper strips, stirring as if animate, represent a rudimentary form of yorishiro (objects into which divine spirits are thought to descend, key to the Japanese conception of religion). 

In Decomposition, one of curator Billy Tang’s Top Picks from this year’s fair, a selection of seasonal fruits are arranged on a pedestal, winking to the art historical tradition of still-life painting. These particular fruits, however, become a sonorous image: needles tap into the fluctuating resistance generated by their moisture levels as the fruits decompose, translating the resulting signals via a synthesizer into an unstable harmony.

a pile of fresh fruits sitting on a pedestal are connected by wire to a pair of loudspeakers
Yuko Mohri, Decomposition, 2023. Image courtesy of Yutaka Kikutake Gallery

Mohri’s playful exploration of invisible worlds raises questions about stillness and aliveness, revealing that even things that seem inert may actually be full of life. As the fruits dry out over time, their inner resistance grows, and the pitch of the composition shrilly rises. 

Living and working in Tokyo, Yuko Mohri creates installations and sculptures not to compose (or construct) but to focus on phenomena that constantly shift according to various conditions such as their environment. In recent years, she has also explored this idea through video and photography. Mohri will represent Japan at the 60th Venice Biennale, which takes place from April 20–November 24, 2024.

Frieze Seoul   

Frieze Seoul is open September 6–9, 2023. Discover the best art from more than 120 leading galleries from across Asia and beyond. Located in the Gangnam district in the heart of Seoul, the fair runs alongside Kiaf SEOUL, South Korea’s leading art fair. 

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