Sara Yukiko Mon (b. 1996, San Francisco, California) is a multidisciplinary artist and designer living and working in New York, New York. She graduated from UCLA with a BA in Design and Media Arts in 2018.

Her work highlights the beauty and humor in casual, mundane happenings while playing with themes of nostalgia and identity.

Recent exhibitions include Entrance Gallery, New York; Gern en Regalia, New York; A.D. Gallery, New York.

Estrella is pleased to present Pirouette, Sara Yukiko Mon’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery, and her first major New York presentation.

Working with themes of impermanence, archiving, and world-building, Pirouette explores what it means to move into a surrender of control while simultaneously anchored in the ceremony of arrangement. Breaking from her practice of working with a minimal, often monochromatic palette, Mon infuses the works in Pirouette with tasteful flourishes of saturated color, an ode to a fresh beginning. Implementing sculpture, collage, and video, her meticulous compositions employ emblems of domestic autonomy.

Plexiglass diorama boxes feature tiny wooden dollhouse furniture built from punch-out templates. They are punctuated by newsprint, and protected by yamori, each enclosed room a meditation on shifted energy; each one an altar, an invitation for new light to come. This meditation of space is furthered by Mon’s meticulously arranged collage works. The same wooden templates from which the furniture was punched now serve as compositional guides, each sheet a framework for displaying collages of collected images — combs, tiny shoes, metallic leather purses, a cross-section of an ant’s tunnel, bottles of discontinued perfume — individually affixed with tape from behind. While the subjects are innocuous, together they speak to the power of ritual — each one an employable tool for expressing the self, and creating a sanctuary in which to develop, grow, and nurture. Mon’s consistent use of newsprint embraces its susceptibility to fade and change, while the tape equally bolsters the transient nature of these works, allowing them to shift, and for elements to be moved, traded, discarded, or gifted.

Taeko Onuki’s Kaze No Michi plays softly as we are guided through an empty apartment via video footage, evoking a sense of haunted spatial familiarity. It functions, in a way, as a collective memory — a hologram of the person we once were, lingering in a place that no longer exists. In this way, it is also an invitation to dream into the empty space a new reality. The viewer is invited to move through the apartment, as if following a choreographed dance, leaning into the thrill and the potential of the unknown — pulled in to experience the sensation of momentum, both literally and spiritually.

There is an element of therapeutic ritual to Mon’s archival work featured in Pirouette, from the arranging of visual paraphernalia to the building of worlds, even if only through dreams — every component eulogizes a feeling, a smell, a thought, a past version of ourselves. With each curation an old energy shifts, as something new grows in its place. Revolving, evolving, continuing a motion while tethered in one place, each new rotation a careful expansion of the one that preceded it.

Text by Rebecca Storm