Texts

Eléonore Chatin & Pascaline Zarifian « Keita MORI », march 2013

Since 2011, Keita Mori creates drawings with a unique technique of cotton threads fixed on paper by using a glue gun. The threads form lines without variations, uniform like frontiers. The artist creates spaces by the accumulation and tangling of threads: objects, systems in which fissures – or “bugs”, as he calls them – reveal shattered areas, ever in motion as if only provisional.

© Eléonore Chatin & Pascaline Zarifian
Press release "Lauréats du prix FID", Galerie Catherine Putman, Paris, 2013
translation : Christian Hein


Gaël Charbau « Keita MORI », November 2014

Architecture and constructed space are often the key issues tackled by Keita Mori. The artist has set himself a series of recurring rules which enable him to produce areas of illusion, frequently on a piece of wall , simply with taught lengths of thread and dabs of glue. His extreme economy of means obliges him to synthesize his patterns, limiting the type of geometric shapes with which he fills his compositions. Using the numerous volumes and perspectives as clues, the spectator then reconstructs the piece with their mind.
Despite a rather classic visuel approach, the artist manages to produce astonising landscape effects by mixing the aesthetics of 3D wire representations, blueprint techniques and, why not, cubo-futurist drawings. His works - all titled Bug report - are invariably made with black thread; therefore both shadow and color have been eluded leaving us with a fragile and ephemeral skeleton of assembled shapes.

© Gaël Charbau
text of exhibition "Voyageurs", La Villa Emerige, Paris, 2014.
translation : Laurette Grassin


Hiromi Matsui « Architectonical SPACE and Light in the Works of Keita Mori », January 2015

Consisting of strings bonded together for support, the works of Keita Mori endow a multidimensional structure. You can see, at first glance, the architectural diagram drawn with the strings. Most often, the schematic space is centered on a vanishing point situated in the middle of the composition. The calculation, developed in order to construct such an image is more instinctive than speculative because the artist does not draw any preparative sketches before execution. The composition of each work is figured differently, depending on the size and shape of support, as well on their environments. Blank spaces inserted into the solid structure seem like a representation of light. They are fragmented reflections coming from the architectural surface, or radiations launched into the architectural structure.
When you approach the works, the schematic image gradually fades. The strings used in the works are not homogeneous lines. The variation of their thickness, different shades of colors, and their entanglement; all of these elements accentuate the palpable materiality of the lines. Under the tension they tremble, shedding fibrous shadows on their support. The strings are sometimes released, freely hanging without being bonded to the support. We can thus consider these works not only as virtual representations of schematic space, but also as a collage of strings, composed in three-dimensional spaces.
It is not architecture of the image, but an architectonic of it. In the playful oscillation between the virtual and the tactile, intelligence and instinct, perception and pleasure, architecture and vertigo, we engage in dialogue with the works of Keita Mori. We thus interpret them differently depending on the various conditions defined by the distance from each work, the atmosphere, and the light surrounding them.
Through the experience of his works, we can see the art of construction of images through space and light, whose origin can be seen in the strings used by Picasso in his famous Guitar of 1912 (MoMA), as well as in the solidly constructed composition and luminous effect of lines in the drawings of Jacques Villon. In this way, consciously or unconsciously, the works of Keita Mori inherit the cubist architectonic of images.

© Hiromi Matsui


Victor Mazière « THIS NEW ART: TO DRAW IN HYPER-SPACE*», November 2015

Over the last few years, Keita Mori has developed a new way of drawing in space, with threads simply stretched and glued straight onto the walls or canvas. A former conceptual artist, his influences stem from the theoretical field of deconstruction and relational aesthetics(1): picturing himself as a “semionaut”(2), he envisions the world as a set of signs and virtual configurations, some of them extending far beyond what human speech and vision could grasp. This realm of half-formed thoughts and shapes might be compared to a network of connections, where the visible and the invisible would be so closely intertwined they might secretly weave webs of wavelengths onto our walls. Thus, the thread acts as a material link, a drawing tool the artist is using to map the coordinates of some hidden and unknown hyperspace, before gluing it onto our immediate surroundings, like two parallel universes becoming one. Using threads is, in that regard, more like drawing a path than leaving a trace, since the thread doesn’t leave an imprint on the surface, but rests above it, severed from this surface and united with it at the same time, like two concomitant worlds sharing the thickness of a hair.

This particular way of drawing with fragments of signs was preceded by a series of “sculptures”, through which Keita Mori has been experimenting with an early form of his notion of “holding together” as a means towards producing a structure: in this instance, the threads were woven into the shape of a chrysalis, like a shell or the blueprint of shapes itself; by unfolding this network into its constitutive elements and reducing it to its basic form (a thread), he was able to set in motion a whole array of new possibilities, resulting in his present signature: from this moment on, his own form of deconstruction started to give birth to strange drawings similar to an arborescent map of energies, or to the traces of nuclear events one can observe in some scientific pictures. Many of his works include circular shapes, reminding of a hadron collider’s structure; if one took a closer look at them, one would start to notice small differences in the very texture of the threads, some being linear and regular in shape, others being slightly worn and fluffy, as if they were somewhat “trembling”, each and one of them having some sort of distinctive property, very much in the same way one would speak of the “taste” and the “color” of quarks in quantum physics(3). For Keita Mori, matter is just another form of energy: since the thread assumes here the function of an index, its pre-symbolic nature allows any meaning and symbol to graft over it, any image to inhabit it, like an empty shell, which opens in turn to an infinite imaginary field; like, for example, standing as a metaphor for a quantum impulse propagating its wavelength into space. Thus Keita Mori’s work is more about a polymorphous kind of logic rather than a paradoxical one, since what matters to him is not setting binary oppositions but exploring what semiotics itself can unfold, what sort of creative potential its borders might hold: as a result, his work rests in an intermediate realm between primitive and contemporary art. One might call it a parietal art for the cyberspace Age.
It took quite some time for all the elements to merge into this present shape, and it has some relevance here to notice that Keita Mori, for an extended period of time, has been very interested in alternative states of consciousness and shamanic art; moreover the idea of using threads instead of pencils came to his mind short after Japan had suffered a series of natural disasters; this is all evidence that his work is pointing towards a very complex relationship to both loss and preservation, and towards its correlate: building an artificial world through the “supplementation” allowed by technology. Technology delays and speeds the process of entropy at the same time, and this ambivalence is reflected in Keita Mori’s act of both saving and spending bits of energy and information.
The history of spinning is itself related to technology, and to the differentiation between nature and culture. Spinning made it possible to obtain threads longer and stronger than the natural fibers available. So did selective breeding of sheep result in new qualities of wool. What technology provides here is a supplementation, by adding something to what nature has to offer. This supplement is directly derived from a relation of codependency between phusis and techne(4): it assumes that nature lacks something that only technology can fulfill by grafting onto it. For example nature may provide a shelter, like a cave for example, but not a house. This supplement isn’t the opposite of nature: it actually uses a natural property that’s already been given. Technology doesn’t come from outside, it inhabits the physical world, and in turn, it gives to nature a whole new set of needs and means: ruled, regulated. To describe his work, Keita Mori refers quite often to the term “bug”: the bug is precisely what ruptures an ordered scheme of things by spreading anew nature’s own lack of purpose. Assuming that in nature, “the rose is without why”(5), couldn’t we imagine, even as some poetic hypothesis, that somewhere a hyperspace of self-regulated forces and data might exist, which would have its own ends and means, like a second nature or a hyper-nature, whose sole telos(6) would be tracing its path towards dissemination and dispersion? That’s what is at stake in Keita Mori’s work: techne begetting itself by spreading data in the most anarchic way. In a chapter of “Dans quel monde vivons-nous?”, co-written with astrophysicist Aurélien Barrau, Jean-Luc Nancy speaks of “struction” to define the way nature and techne are inter-connected, before any kind of external or overimposed order, by the very fact of their co-presence, their contiguity. Historically, the paradigm through which things were to receive a form has first been architectural (and thus architectonic), then structural (the composition devoid of finality), and finally, according to Nancy ”structional”, which is to say “related to an unstable, aggregated scheme of things”(7), in which what is given doesn’t adhere to the rules of Unity, but relies on Multiplicity. The Universe itself is a Multiverse, or, more precisely, to quote Adrien Barrau, “the multiple worlds are not other worlds, but an angular variation in the relation to the Outside”(8). Every unity contains at its core the blueprint of its own declosion (to use Nancy’s concept), like a hyperspace that would be built in reverse, from its outside margins towards its center, or, better even, its absence of a center, since we have to consider here categories that operate beyond a Cartesian space ruled by hierarchy: the limit is not a closure, but only an interface, a doorway. Thus the sign, being itself basically an interface, is never linked to only one possible meaning, but open, from its margins, to an infinity of combinations. The becoming of every system is thus the “Big Bug”, which is to say: the energy of the whole semiotic process being given back to its dispersive state, its wandering, “not a beginning, nor an end; not an assembling nor an un-assembling, but everything at the same time”(9).

Keita Mori’s works are thus built like meta-structures, where the process of recurrence wouldn’t result in cancelling any variation, but, on the contrary, in opening a whole new set of possible paths, as if one would follow every quantum path on a Feynman’s diagram(10) at the same time, or every data combination on the self-destructing Cloud. During the long psychedelic explosion closing Zabriskie Point, Antonioni hangs over the abstract canvas of a Californian sky every last bit of rubbish that constitutes the signs of our consumerist culture, falling slowly back down to the ground: if one watches carefully, there’s something of the sort going on in the murals of Keita Mori: the trace of a technologic entropy, whose fragments, before falling down, would float over the surface of our world, in an attempt to stop time for a while, and give itself to the playful joys of chaos.

© Victor Mazière
in, catalogue Hyper-Espaces, Ed. Musée Bernard Boesch, La Baule, 2015.

*the title refers to Julio Gonzalez “This new Art: to draw in Space” (in Picasso sculpteur et les cathédrals, 1932), cf also Rosalind Krauss, “This new Art: drawing in Space” in The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths, MIT Press, 1986

  • (1) Nicolas Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, Les Presses du Réel, Paris, 2002: Nicolas Bourriaud’s theoretical concept of relational aesthetics refers to a whole set of works about relation in general, and social relationship in particular. The “work of art” becomes thus mainly about interaction and reception and documenting the trace of an event.
  • (2) Bourriaud’s use of the term “semionaut” refers to an artist travelling through signs and languages.
  • (3) Murray Gell-Mann, The Quark and the Jaguar, St Martin’s Griffin, 1995
  • (4) ”Phusis” means nature in ancient Greek, and “Techne”, artificial production.
  • (5) ”The Rose is without why: it blooms because it blooms”, Angelus Silesius, The Cherubinic Wanderer, Paulist Press, 1986
  • (6) ”Telos” in Greek means aim, ultimate object
  • (7) Jean-Luc Nancy, “De la Struction” in Dans Quel Monde vivons-nous?, Aurélien Barrau, Jean-Luc Nancy, Galillée, Paris, 2011, p.90
  • (8) Jean-Luc Nancy, “De la Struction”, p.91
  • (9) Jean-Luc Nancy, “De la Struction”, p.104
  • (10) In theoretical physics, Feynman diagrams are pictorial representations of the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of subatomic particles. A Feynman diagram is a representation of quantum field theory processes in terms of particle paths. The particle trajectories are represented by the lines of the diagram, which can be squiggly or straight, with an arrow or without, depending on the type of particle. A point where lines connect to other lines is an interaction vertex, and this is where the particles meet and interact: by emitting or absorbing new particles, deflecting one another, or changing type. There are three different types of lines: internal lines connect two vertices, incoming lines extend from "the past" to a vertex and represent an initial state, and outgoing lines extend from a vertex to "the future" and represent the final state.

Marion Dana & Corentin Hamel «Keita Mori», April 2016

Since 2011, Keita Mori has been developing a specific and recurrent technique which is situated between the wall drawing, the drawing the site-specific installation. Constructions with the help of threads stuck to the spray, either on a wall, or on a support. Keita Mori doesn't make any sketches, which lends the works a perfomative colouring. In addition, given the complexity of the spaces and architectures drawn, the artist seems to play simultaneously with the ideas of virtuosity and professionalism. The rendering of the works in fact borrows from the aesthetics of the architectural drawing and from the 3D wire rendering, which we find in studies, in the digital world and in the science fiction world.

Re-using one of most classical traditions of drawing. Keith Mori develops extremely complex forms with the greatest economy of means. The choice of drawing using just a single textile thread nevertheless diverts the logic of inscription, and the intimate and irretrievable character which it contains. One of almost imagines the possibility of "gathering" the threads for another iteration of the work.

The interplays of perspectives obey a logic of "clear line" and blueprint. The works in the series developed since 2011 all have the titre Bug report. The bug corresponds to an aspect of each drawing where the structure seems to fall apart and explode. We may well wonder if this explosion results from the incompleteness and the logic of the fragment or rather from an even greater-dreamed up-complexity of a more intricate world of successive structures and other possible dimensions. As such, although borrowing from aesthetics other than those strictly associated with contemporary art, Keita Mori's work tallies with the modernist dictum "less is more".

© Marion Dana & Corentin Hamel
text of exhibition "Salon de Montrouge", Montrouge, 2016.
translation : Simone Pleasance & Fronza Woods.