Eiki Mori | Shibboleth—I blink my eyes to the heartbeats

August 5th (Wed) - September 6th (Sun), 2020

  • KEN NAKAHASHI (5F, No.2 Shinjuku Bldg., 3-1-32, Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan)
  • Advance reservation is requited: https://airrsv.net/kennakahashi/calendar
  • Hours: Wed・Thu・Fri 11:00 - 19:00, Sat・Sun 11:00 - 17:00
  • Closed: Mon・Tue

KEN NAKAHASHI is pleased to present Shibboleth—I blink my eyes to the heartbeats, a solo exhibition by Eiki Mori, to be held from August 5th (Fri) until September 6th (Sun), 2020.

Mori’s new video work Shibboleth—I blink my eyes to the heartbeats was performed on the sparsely inhabited streets of Tokyo in the sunset hours from March through May, during the state of emergency and self-quarantine time of the novel coronavirus. 

‘Mot de passe—Shibboleth’ a vulnerable and unfamiliar language, which was before chanted steadily, now takes the silent form of a body language, sinking into the scenery and soundscape of the city.

Statement by Eiki Mori

This spring, in the time of Corona, I performed in the sunset hours 15 ‘Mot de passe—Shibboleth’ alone on the empty street corners.

Based on the actions described in the ‘Mot de passe', such as ‘I playback the laughter on the roof’, ‘I turn three pages instead of saying sorry’, and ‘I blink my eyes to the heartbeat’, with clarity like a flag signal, I choreographed all the 'Mot de passe' with calm and fresh movements as if I was reading poems with my body. These secret words, subtly translated into body language, shine brightly on a fence, water tank, and exposed concrete pillars in the light of the sun setting through gaps between houses and buildings.

The feelings and memories in words are not limited to just the brain, but can pass through your body and swim freely among other people, places, SNS, and many other ‘outside selves’. Flowing, mixing and accumulating…

The secret words chanted through my body are projected between the cities where I live, and are deeply engraved one by one, just like the notes written on the score. And in response to the secrets of important family and friends living far away, they continue to change, circulate, and come back to me and their ears as a whole new secret.

For those who can’t meet anymore, those who cannot meet easily, and those who will meet in the future, with the shibboleth that leads to distant memory and the many voices that echo throughout the body, we are dancing today in the dazzling light.

Eiki Mori

July, 2020


  • Shibboleth—I blink my eyes to the heart beats
  • Single channel color video with sounds
  • 7 minutes 10 seconds
  • 2020

Eiki Mori is especially known for his photography on the subject of diversity including sexual minorities, but in recent years has developed a wide variety of methods such as video, performance, writing and poetry.

In recent performances he has tried exploring the boundaries between oneself and others, and engaging in physical dialogues, by reading poems mixed with his own experiences or memories and by performing with others. These practices could perhaps be explained as an attempt to open small disappearing voices to the public—kept as small as they are—to visualize the intimacy taking place.

Mori has held two solo exhibitions at KEN NAKAHASHI, and has also been actively participating in exhibitions at museums and art festivals, deriving various opinions on the environment surrounding gender topics and sexual minorities. From December 2018 to January 2019, Mori participated in Things So Faint But Real—Contemporary Japanese Photography Vol. 15, held at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. In 2017 and 2018, Mori played a performance for Festival / Tokyo.

Through these books, exhibitions and poetry reading performances, he has posed questions regarding the diversity of LGBT and others derived from personal experiences into the public, participating himself in what might be overlooked in society. Mori’s practices are starting to have a widespread impact both in Japan and abroad.

Mori has published four photobooks. In 2014, Mori received the most prestigious Kimura Ihei Award for intimacy.

Eiki Mori

Born 1976 in Ishikawa prefecture. Graduated from The Photography Dept., Parsons The New School for Design in 2001. In 2014, he released intimacy, for which he received the most prestigious Kimura Ihei Award.

Some recent solo exhibitions are Family Regained (2017) and Letter to My Son (2018) at KEN NAKAHASHI, and group exhibition Things So Faint But Real -Contemporary Japanese Photography vol.15- (2018-2019) at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

Mori’s works are part of public collections, including SUNPRIDE FOUNDATION and Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, and have been collected by many individual collectors both in Japan and abroad. 

Update: September 17th, 2021

The PDF of the archive booklet "KEN NAKAHASHI No.1" created for Eiki Mori's two Shibboleth exhibitions can be viewed from Dropbox below.