241. Pure Land CindY Liang

Mariko Mori

  • Contemporary Japanese artist
  • lives in London, New York and Tokyo
  • Theme: universal questions at the intersection of life, death, reality, and technology

Mariko Mori, Pure Land, 1998, color photograph on glass, Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California.

Form: color, space, shape

Materials & Technique: A color photograph set within glass, a counterpart of Mori's 3D video installation Nirvana.


  • Artist uses a creative interpretation of traditional Japanese art forms
  • Mori herself appears as if in a vision in the guide of the Heian deity Kichijōten
  • Kichijōten is the essence of beauty and harbinger of prosperity and happiness
  • Jewel=Buddha's universal mind
  • Animated figures of lighthearted aliens play musical instrument in clouds
  • Merging of consumer entertainment fantasies with traditional Japanese imagery
  • Oneness


  • It is set during sunrise in the landscape of the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth
  • Salt=an agent of purification in Shinto

Intended Purpose: ensure that the viewers have a longer, more meditative relationship with a moment of this experience.

Innovation: Romanticized views of popular culture, 3D photography

Convention: rich in color (golden sky), landscape, human figure

Cross-Cultural Comparisons: Photography

  • Daguerre, Still Life in Studio
  • Muybridge, The Horse in Motion
  • Stieglitz, The Steerage

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