Akira Tatehata «The Heteronomy of the image», november 2017

The process of ‘drawing’ has always been considered as a preparatory phase that embodies the wandering contemplation of random thinking in the form of an image. The architectural drawing as a ‘conceptual drawing’ was a transitory model that aimed to produce a ‘thesis’ for all possible modeling, making this act a fascinating and dangerous one. Keita Mori’s work could be defined as architectural conceptual drawings that generate ‘models’ drawings.

Keita Mori’s work has for a long time been represented by geometric images drawn in perspective solely using black thread. Over recent years, his work has evolved, often featuring fragments of modern architecture that serve as ‘models’-which are highly approved in society, especially in the modernist context-and even restore them to a raw state, before they are transformed into ‘models and theses’ in order to liberate them by giving them dynamics through deconstruction.

I think that the origin of his inspiration can be ascribed to the drawing work he did during his period of study in Tokyo, before he settled in Paris. I am thinking, in particular, of the drawing representing the reactor of a nuclear power plant. It was made with black thread directly on a wall in the gallery in the Tama University of Fine Arts in Tokyo. intuitively anticipating the accident and explosions in the Fukushima nuclear power plant several years later, without knowing what would happen in the future, and without any intention of conveying political messages, the artist represented a sort of premonition through drawing, which enables us to foresee one of the possible worlds. Drawing with thread may be less effective than drawing with other traditional materials, but it does at least make it possible to create an image that is graphically more sophisticated and detailed, and a sort of disturbing imaginative world.

Keita Mori’s drawing is neither drawing for drawing’s sake, nor is it independent drawing that exists in isolation from the rest of the world. The artist ensures that the poetic essence is conveyed through the heteronomy of the image by incorporating mysterious things and phenomena into his world. It is through the prism of his work as a ‘conceptual thread draughtsman’ that he will continue to capture our undivided attention.

© Akira Tatehata
in, catalogue TEMPLATES, Ed. Galerie Catherine Putman, Paris, 2017.
translation : David Michaelson

Philippe Piguet, june 2017

“With simple execution using woollen, silk or metal thread glued on paper or directly onto the wall, Keita Mori's drawings consist of incredible plays on graphic representations of networks; be they figurative or abstract, they overtake their support materiel; some even carry from one to another, or even from a section of building to another, as if to better monopolize the space”

© Philippe Piguet
in, catalogue 'Le dessin, autrement', Arles: Analogues, 2017.
translation : Lauren Broom

Gaël Charbau, february 2017

I first met Keita Mori in a small studio that he shared with another artist in a building on Rue de Ménilmontant. One side of their divided studio space contained everything one would expect to find in a typical working environment of a young contemporary artist, including felt-tip pens, paintbrushes covered in paint, cartons, chunks of plaster lying on a plastic bag, and so on. At first glance, the other side looked vacant. Well, almost. In this area of his, Mori had placed a glue gun on a small stool. It was aimed at the partition, which first struck me as empty. In fact, a drawing of a complex piece of architecture was materializing on that very surface. It was a sketch fashioned from sewing threads fixed with dabs of hot glue. The technique’s refined simplicity struck me as evident. I began a conversation with Keita and asked him to show me how he did it. So, he uncoiled a piece of wire, glued it with the gun, shaped an angle, spanned thread from there to the other end of the composition, and repeated these gestures for a few minutes until its architectural structure gained in material veracity. I then realized that he worked without a preparatory sketch, as if the motif evolved of its own accord, following pathways that appeared to know their own destination.

When I exhibited Mori’s work(1) I gave him a wall that was about six meters long and three high. On the first day of setting it up - true to form, going by what I had seen in his studio - Mori arrived equipped with just a backpack containing a glue gun and spools of thread. For nearly six days, he worked on the wall while constantly moving back and forth as the large space required for him to perceive the piece evolving both from close up and from a distance. Apart from a few jotted scribbles in a notebook, Mori worked without any reference on paper which astonished the other artists who were there during preparations. As the days passed, an enormous elliptical form emerged which contained segments of architecture, layers, and trails that all intertwined without producing a definitive shape. It appeared, instead, like an infinite proliferation of sections that lent solid substance to temporary states. Given its size, the relation between what could be perceived up close and from afar induced an intricate, dizzying sensation. Like many of Mori’s works, this one was called Bug Report, as in the name given to the report of errors and problems that software testers give to computer program developers. “Bugs” are imperfections that have slipped into lines of code. They derail software’s rational mathematical framework. In the works of Keita Mori, however, this bug appears to provide fundamental unity in a principle which, while building and connecting also defeats arising geometric shapes. It takes the form of discontinuous, fractured lines. But unlike computer bugs, it does not prevent the overall structure from working. On the contrary, it here embodies its heartbeat rather than a paralyzing disease. It reveals shapes, suggests landscapes, and forms configurations at the same time as it dismantles them.

In his exhibition Strings, Keita Mori decided to implicitly touch upon the theme of migration. This fundamental notion underlies mankind’s origins, represents the basis of our history, and gains particularly dramatic emphasis today. As you will have understood, most of Mori’s works are ephemeral works destined to vanish. There is an obvious parallel with the epic journeys of migrants today. The construction of these beings in motion is damaged, broken, severed, as of the very point from which they have been chased and right across all the geographical changes they traverse. The exhibition is an occasion for the artist to allow the mind to settle, much in the way that life for migrants has become a succession of instances when they seek to realign their life visions. The work’s final appearance fully materializes on the exhibition’s opening day and cannot be imagined beforehand, because the work takes shape during its process of creation. Fashioned from wool, silk, cotton, linen, and the nylon threads of a few garments that lie scattered on the floor, the figures displayed on the Drawing Lab walls resemble archetypical phantoms of the collective imagination. One passes through them like travelers traversing imaginary, mapped territories. It forms a complete, two-dimensional universe.

Upon entering the exhibition, Mori shows a piece that is for him unprecedented in many respects: a video. It is the first time he experiments with a medium which is so distant from his customary technique. The film features the hands of two ‘manipulators’ who create abstract figures by means of a string game. Thanks to a choreographic routine of their palms, fingers, and wrists, Mori here explores, over time rather than spatially, how those shapes arise from tightly drawn threads. Mori celebrates gestures along with their precision, timing, and mastery. One could view the piece as an allusion to the lack of language or to the non-verbal communication between two beings, such as when someone seeking help wants to call out to the other without using words and uses body language to make themselves heard. This arrangement of motions seeks to render forms silently in the other’s mind, in a theatrical interplay and patient process of abridging reality to a few crucial traits, to a couple of figures shaped by hand in a direct link between the intellect and the heart. Like when one searches direction and life hangs from a thread.

  • (1) The Voyageurs exhibition of “Bourse Révélations Emerige” 2014, at Villa Emerige in Paris.

© Gaël Charbau
in, catalogue Strings, Ed. Drawing Lab, Paris, 2017.

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.

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.

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

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