Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Mariko Mori and Laurie Anderson at CCBB"

Three exhibits that put the focus on the artist.
Mariko Mori at CCBB Rio 2011
There is a lot of hype surrounding the handful of works by the Japanese artist Mariko Mori now on view at the CCBB in Rio. Upon entering the CCBB, a former bank building, the main space is filled with the enormity of her UFO, an interactive pod piece where participants are invited to plug into and become a part of the experience, light and sound and brain wave activity projected within the walls of the amoeba shaped vessel which convincingly looks as if it did just arrive from some far away planet.

(Note to hopeful viewers, get there early to avoid the crowds as the pod can only accommodate 12 guests per hour - so there is a lot of waiting for the 15 minute experience.)

I was familiar with Mori photographic work from late last century, and was happy to find one of her most famous images inside the exhibit.

Mariko Mori "Empty Dreams" at CCBB Rio 2011
Way back in 1999, it was acceptable if not encouraged to don a bright blue wig and mermaid outfit and do a self-portrait. Good clean fun. Today, revisiting the image, it reminded me of those heady days working at Patricia Field's and Fifi Mahony's, but mostly it seemed quaintly vintage, halcyon days gone by.

As has this style of self-expression for Mori, who abandoned being the star of her own artwork and slowly fades from view until the only thing that remains is the architecture that houses the action. Honestly, I would have loved to see more of her photography, as I am a big fan of self-promotional self-expression.  As for the pod, rather that a performance and art space, I was fantasizing about redecorating and moving in!

Also on view is the work of Laurie Anderson, and while I have been familiar with her work for years, (even saw her perform live in Austin back in the day), this exhibit marks the first time I have seen a retrospective of her work.

Laurie Anderson at CCBB Rio 2011
 The show, titled "I in U" (Eu en Tu), covers decades of her work, from videos of her more well-known performative pieces, to actual displays of some of her most famous instruments, (deconstructed violins as above, or even the iconic neon violin and bow!) There are also violins that play themselves, images of her through the ages, and more high-tech pieces; Laurie Anderson as pontificating projection, holy hologram, diva of digital. Her work across 40 years and nearly as many mediums exemplifies her manifesto of 'transitoriety', or "the state of permanent movement, destined never to arrive".

Additionally, tucked into the catacombs of galleries within the CCBB is the exhibit "Eu me Desdobro em Muitos", and while not the star show, it is certainly worth seeing.

CCBB Rio 2011
This exhibit focuses on self-representation in contemporary photography and includes some pretty big names. Robert Mapplethorpe, Gilbert & George, Pierre & Gilles, and Cindy Sherman are all represented, as well as a bevy of other Brazilian and international photographers, all putting the self in self-expression.

For more on the Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil, check out the CCBB:

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