The Rio 2016 Olympics, that took place in August, have been awarded a sixth ring created by a notorious Japanese contemporary artist, Mariko Mori. The acrylic sculpture in form of a ring was installed on the top of 58-meter-high Véu da Noiva waterfall, located one and a half hours from Rio, prior to the Olympics opening day. The ring is so designed that it changes color throughout the day, depending on the sun angle – from light blue to sparkling gold.

The sculpture was created as a symbol of unification of five Olympic rings. The idea came to Mori in a dream 7 years ago, where she saw people sitting in front of the waterfall, back in hundreds or thousands years’ time, doing some sort of prayers to the golden ring. She did not know the time zone, nor did she know the exact place. But one thing she remembered clearly: the dense energy that she felt all around, which made her immediately start looking for a waterfall to make the golden ring a reality.

Mariko Mori


The concept behind this rather minimalistic artwork lies in symbolization of oneness, completeness and eternity as well as humans’ connectivity with nature. “The idea of oneness is taking boundaries between self and others, taking boundaries between small particles and a multi-universe. The concept is that we are sharing one entity, we are all part of it,” – says Mori.  This, according to the artist, is a part of Buddhist philosophy that she wanted to share and translate via contemporary art language within her mission of uniting humanity.

“I hope Ring will inspire viewers to create a ring within their own hearts and connect with others to create a chain of rings across the world in the spirit of oneness,” – Mori added.


The Artwork of Future

Mariko Mori

Mariko Mori was born in Tokyo in 1967. She studied fashion design in college and worked as a model for some time. She pursued art degree at the Chesea College of Art and Design in London and participated in Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in New York City.

Mariko did not started as an artist right away: in the beginning, she found herself involved into costume and hair style design. At this time, Mori started to learn the vocabulary of creating images but did not yet have an intention to make artwork. In the late 90s’ Mori has set up for designing and building experience, and was particularly interested in a way of how to engage the six human senses in her art. She soon realized her unique style, a new visual language – some sort of a mix between sci-fi, futuristic and fantasy worlds.

Her work “Wave UFO” is one of those artworks that perfectly depicts artist’s style and passion. A large-scale structure, reminding of both spaceship and water drop, is placed in the center of the showroom. The object, in its core, explores the connection between human brain and interconnected cosmos by collecting people’s brainwave data, using scientific equipment and specially designed computer technologies.

Mariko Mori

Mariko is certain about the interconnection of technological advances and artistic sphere, parallelizing these two things in her works. “Art and technology seek the new or the imminent future; they share the same anxieties and conditions, and aspire to resolve the essential problems of humanity,” – she says.

Another sculpture of Mori’s, “Tom Na H-iu”, is one of those works in which the artist embodies universal matters with the high-tech. A monument, evocative of a Celtic standing stone, changes its color and evolves different light. Mori was inspired by ancient people, who placed standing stones all around the world, and decided to create her own stone that symbolizes life and death in current times. The color and the brightness of the stone light are based on the particles sent from cosmos, that are caught and transferred to the monument by Tokyo’s leading space observatory.

Mariko Mori

Mori is also deeply empowered by visualizing the endless nature of universe and exploring alternative theories of its origin. “Cyclicscape” is a set of ten sculptures, made in a form of endless white surfaces. Each sculpture represents the universe, based on the idea of the existence of a multitude of universes and the infinite energy circles inside them.

“The idea of the Big Bang really made sense for everything, but after the discovery of black holes and the introduction of string theory, physicists realized that it doesn’t really make sense that we came from nothingness,” – Mori told the Observer.

Mariko Mori

Mariko Mori

Mariko Mori has entered the artistic scene about two decades ago, but it took her some time to evolve and become one of the most prominent and recognizable contemporary artists of today. Her works are greatly influenced by her Japanese upbringing, especially the earliest one, where she combined pop culture of Japan, futuristic architecture and sophisticated technology. With the passage of time, she has moved to rather spiritual side of art, covering the matters of future, past and inner selves within the underlying matter of universe.

Subscribe to WM Daily. Be In Touch With Rebellious Voices