Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity

Above photo: Infinity Mirrored Room–Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, Yayoi Kusama, 2016.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” travelling exhibition opened today at the Seattle Art Museum. Although it will remain open until Sept. 10th of this year, and although all timed-entry tickets are completely sold out, limited ones are set aside/reserved and available on a daily, walk-in basis. Ours is the 2nd U.S. city that her popular artwork is on display in, featuring lighting installations, sculpture, paper works, and her paintings. For the first showing at the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, the first 9,000 people received free tickets and it sold out in 6 minutes, which crashed the site. SAM also reported tickets selling out extremely fast here as well.

Ms. Kusama’s infinity rooms have both a sense of whimsy and yet an eternal quality to them. Two or three people are immersed in a small, intimate setting, viewing each room for 20-30 seconds, in some cases, walking amid her work. But there are also mirrors which repeat and repeat within that space, and the guest’s own reflection becomes part the room. These exhibits, with often a repetition of motifs (such as polka dots or reflections) feature a wide spectrum of this 87-year old artist’s work from the 1950s to present day.

Dots Obsession-Love Transformed into Dots, Yayoi Kusama. Photo: Seattle Art Museum

After unusual and possibly traumatic early life experiences, Yayoi Kusama, received an encouraging letter from American artist Georgia O’Keefe then moved from Japan to New York City in the 1950s to pursue her art. One of her contemporaries was Andy Warhol, and her varied work sometimes explored anti-war and sexual themes filtered through her own lens. For over 40 years now, after a mental breakdown, she has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo, Japan. She checks herself out of the hospital daily, walks to her studio nearby to work, then returns at night: a combination of structure and freedom which allows for her continual, infinite creativity.

“This effect of continual repetition calls out to the human senses, and in return, deep inside our heart we yearn for true amazement.”
Yayoi Kusama, Hirschhorn Museum interview, Dec. 2016.

Yayoi Kusama with recent works in Tokyo, 2016.  Photo: Tomoaki Makino. Courtesy of the artist © Yayoi Kusama

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