Mandala Flea Market Mutants: Pop Protocol and the Seven Transformations of Good-luck National Defense Cats is the lengthy title of multimedia artist Yoko Inoue’s new installation at Smack Mellon, a show that aims to transform the front gallery into a maze of vending booths— a concept derived from traditional Japanese temple fairs. Inoue will be on site for the duration of the exhibition, adding an element of performance to the artwork.

Inoue, a native of Kyoto, Japan, explores her interest in the relationship between people and objects by working with mass-produced items and determining their cultural value. For her imaginary marketplace, she creates hybrid objects from typical urban market pop culture finds and traditional cultural symbols through casting and other mediums. The resulting figures, whether representing Buddah, Coca-Cola bottles, or Hello Kitty, inspire ideas and questions around the effects of globalization and market-based economies on historically rich cultures.

Mandala Flea Market Mutants runs March 17 – April 22 alongside Jeanne Quinn’s LaceMath.

You can learn more about Yoko Inoue by watching an earlier interview with her through Smack Mellon’s Vimeo channel.

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