Up on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower I went.
The visit to Mori Art Museum was not on the list. In fact, except for the National Art Center, I never knew this museum existed in Roppongi Hills at all. The only reason I wanted to visit the area was to see the Maman, one of several giant spiders by Louise Bourgeois, the first one of which I caught sight at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Did I find the museum by chance or was it fated? The Universe has its ways of turning our heads to the direction we should take.
I’m an avid admirer of contemporary art and the museum is a home for this art genre. This I only found out after taking photos at the spiral staircase of the art cone and wondered where the stylish, artsy folks came from as they made their way down the flight. Next thing I knew I was on the elevator heading up to the museum.
Apparently, the arachnid permanently displayed on the concourse of the Mori Tower is part of the museum. Another interesting fact about the Mori Art Museum is it doesn’t exhibit a permanent collection (I guess the spider is not included because it’s outdoors). What it does is hold temporary exhibitions of works by contemporary artists, which primarily are Asians.
Perhaps it was timely that on my visit, two subjects of what I believe in were the themes: “The Universe and Art”. The exhibit, which ended in January, related how humanity has always taken great interest to the universe. For centuries, we have studied it, worshipped it and spun tales about it.
From across the globe, the museum selected around 200 items—artifacts from different periods and in diverse genres— and divided it into four sections.
Section one presented historical views of the cosmos in “How have humans through the ages viewed the Universe.” Displayed were ancient mandalas from China, a Japanese legendary sword forged from meteorite iron, astronomical manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci (a first for Japan), and Galileo Galillei’s, Copernicus’ first editions of astronomical and scientific texts, and contemporary art by Japanese artists.
“The Universe as space-time” was presented at the second section. It exhibited installations by contemporary artists that present their diverse views of the universe. Black holes and multidimensional universe took artistic forms.
Section three posed a question many ask, “A new life—Do aliens exist”. On display were fossils and meteorites, an Edo-period UFO story, and sci-fi magazines and sculptures representing artificial intelligence.
The fourth section presented “Space travel and the future of humanity” where guests can explore space from where he stands. Shown on the floor were the history of American and Russian space exploration, models for housing on Mars and the moon, spacesuits. “Light in Space” let guests peek at how traveling through space must feel like (the illusion was dizzying for me though).
It was an exciting first visit. What can I say but “thank you, Universe!”
Knowing that nothing is permanently exhibited in this museum picks my interest and look forward to next contemporary exhibition. I know I will revisit this place when I make it back to Tokyo.
Mori Art Museum is on the 53rd floor of the Mori Tower, Roppongi Hills (access through the Museum Cone, 3rd level). Open daily from 10AM-8PM, until 5PM on Tuesdays. Admission is 1,600yen for adults, lower rates for students and kids.
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