Mariyo Yagi

Born in Kobe, now based in Kyoto. Yagi is internationally known for her unique spiritual landscape art featuring a thick Japanese rope. Yagi often locates her work in locations such as parks or plazas, where people™…specially children™‡et together and talk or play around; she also tries always to involve the local population in the creative process of the whole art-site. So this time also, her Kobe project became a strong medium of reorganization of a community suffering from post-earthquake conditions. She has worked in Brazil, Ireland, Canada and various places in Japan, including the ancient Jomon ruins in Aomori. Some of her works are part of the permanent collection in the Rio de Janeiro National Art Museum.

Why did we interview Yagi to "sense" Japan?

Yagi's Works and Activities

''Roots--the link between our hearts''
public art for citizens by citizens
  • At the Yuzuruha Shrine on Jan. 17, 1996
  • 100cm x 800cm , 10m x 20m
  • Materials: 7,000 pieces of second-hand clothing (natural fibers), linen, stainless steel, soil, timber
Yagi and people from Kobe creating a huge rope....
Three thick ropes are made by twisting many ropes together....
Yagi making a huge rope accompanied by drums and vocals on performance day, November 25 and 26 ....
Making a rope: a symbol of the vital link that connects us


Cosmos of Spring, 1993
  • Collection of Kaizuka Cosmos Theater, Kaizuka
  • 70 cubic meters 70mx17mx11m
  • Materials: White granite, bronze, white stucco
The Echo of NAWAscape
Earth Work, 1993
  • Ireland Art Relics, Lacken Bay, North Mayo, Ireland
  • 270m(L)x36m(W)x0.6-2.7m(H)
  • Materials: Soil, stone, seapink (plants)

DNA of Global Culture
  • 110cmx80cmx43cm
  • Materials: Sizal, cotton (ragged cloth)
Senri Creation Story at Global Rope Plaza, 1991
  • 1991”N
  • Collection of the Osaka Senri Center, Osaka

Polar axis
Environmental Sculpture, April 1988
  • 1988”N4ŒŽ
  • Collection of Kyoto Seika University, Kyoto, Japan
  • 36cm-60cm diameter x 1080cm; Floor space 20 square meters
  • Materials: Sizal, steel, copper, concrete, tiles

Why did we interview Yagi to sense Kobe, Japan?

Mariyo Yagi has created rope art works on the theme of spirals in Brazil, Ireland and many places in Japan. Some of her art works reach over 300 meters long. Why is she fascinated with ropes? Yagi says that her rope works do not need particular techniques or tools. All that is required is a group of people. The art is borne from the collective strength of humans, or community.

While many activities have been developed for the community such as workshops held in various regions, not all are successful. Yet in the midst of this, Yagi creates a unique environment that engenders a dynamic network of cooperation through respecting people and always trying to understand the local culture and environment. She also devotes all of herself to her work, one other reason why she fascinates people so.

A rope.
A rope is assembled by people using plants that spring from Mother Earth.
Individually, the plants are weak, but when their fibers are twined together, they create a strong rope.
The rope contains the energy of creation and life itself. Through making the rope, we come once again into contact with that primal human experience, that of connecting with other humans through the heart.

Yagi assembled a rope with people who suffered from the quake, and then performed a ritual burning of the rope to console the souls of those who perished in the quake in Kobe. What was in her mind when she was burning the rope? We wanted to know even a small part of it: We, who had not experienced the quake.
(sensorium staff, samii)

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[A Living Rope That Connects Us All with Yagi]
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["earth" A Sensibility for Living in a World in Constant Flux by Shin'ichi Takemura]