Haunting notes from a piano drift through the gallery space in Japanese artist Yuko Mohri’s Breath or Echo, first shown at the Sapporo International Art Festival in 2017 and adapted for the ninth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9), the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art’s flagship contemporary art series. The piano, innards exposed, plays by itself amidst decaying street lamps, Mohri’s installation generating a delicate, troubling sound world.

Yuko MohriYuko Mohri’s Breath or Echo at the Sapporo International Art Festival 2017. Photograph © Ikuya Sasaki

“One of the core factors of her work – the thing that kind of really identifies it – is this use of ready-made objects as sound-producing objects; creating these autonomous instruments out of things that can be found out in the world,” QAGOMA’s Curator of Contemporary Asian Art Reuben Keehan tells Limelight. “She’s worked in the past with really beautiful, simple things like having a fan rush past a Venetian blind, or simple forms of programming, like using very simple, electric motors to turn percussive elements.”

Breath or Echo features an array of fascinating instruments. “There are these pianos that she’s turned...