Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors introduces a new dimension to the experience of visiting an art exhibition. Infinity Mirrors allows you to immerse yourself completely in the art. The feelings that the art pieces evoke are relatable to personal views on life, love, and eternity.
The exhibition comprises of six infinity mirror spaces. Some of the spaces are rooms you can enter, and others are to be looked at through peep-holes. Kusama tackles the subject of space by using lights, multiple objects, and mirrors to create the illusion of an “infinite space.” Kusama refers to creating your own timeless kaleidoscopic environment filled with flashing lights and colours.
Once you enter the exhibition, you are lead to each room by her iconic red polka-dots lining the walls. Each contain an instance of her life that led her to create that specific room, in chronological order. Kusama’s inspiration lies within her interests and experiences throughout her life. She once said, “I am deeply interested in trying to understand the relationship between people, society and nature, and my work is forged from accumulations of these frictions.”
“Phalli’s Field” was made between 1962 and 1964. It features rows and rows of mirrors. There is a white ceiling and an innumerable amount of oval-shaped stuffed fabric. Kusama wanted to face her fear of sex, and so she created these tubers, which are modelled after penises. The exhaustive process of trying to create a hallucinatory experience taught Kusama how to create her now infamous installations. Instead of creating thousands of tubers, she realized the mirrors could help her eclipse the emotional and physical limitations within her mind and practice.
“Love Forever,” created between 1966 and 1994, is a room that has two peepholes. It features Kusama’s beginning experimentation with technology. Rows of ordered lights sparkle, then turn off and flash brightly. The two peepholes allow you and other participants to view each other within infinity. This artwork is special to the artist, as she created it in order to raise awareness for civil rights and anti-war movements.
“Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity” (2009), contains flashing golden lanterns, modelled after the ones used in light festivals in Kusama’s home country of Japan. The tradition, called “Toro Nagashi” is a ceremony that guides spirits back to their resting places. Upon entering the room, you are faced with darkness. Slowly, flickering lights begin to shine, becoming brighter and brighter until they fill the enter room and infinity beyond. The themes of life, death, and eternity are poignant in this room, ready for the participant to make their own judgements about “infinity.”
Unlike the previous rooms, “Dots Obsession: Love Transformed into Dots,” created in 2007, contains three different installations within an open space. Large pink balls with black polka dots fill the space, but within it, there are two contrasting installations. One, a small room with mirrors with pink and black polka-dotted balloons hanging from the ceiling, reflecting the same pattern on every surface of the room. Two, a large ball with a small peephole. When you glance into the peephole, you see endless rows of metallic balls with the same pattern, reflecting the kaleidoscopic environment Kusama wanted to reflect.
Kusama once said, “I feel how truly wonderful life is, and I tremble with undying fascination for the world of art, the only place that gives me hope and makes me feel worthwhile. And no matter how I may suffer for my art, I will have no regrets. This is the way I have lived my life, and it is the way I shall go on living.”
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors began at the AGO on March 3 and ends May 27. Check it out and immerse yourself within Kusama’s world.
Click here for a short video from Deema Abu Naser from her visit to the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit.