Exhibitions are changing the way we experience art. Most of the time there’s a clear distinction between us and the artwork. But Kusama confuses this on purpose. To experience her mirror rooms, she asks us to become part of them. By walking through her mind we break down all the boundaries between the subject and the object itself.
Japanese contemporary artist, Yayoi Kusama, commonly known as the Princess of polka dots, creates all kinds of art. From sculptures, paintings, installations, clothing design to performances. Born in 1929, to a wealthy family of merchants, she discovered her passion to draw from a young age as Kusama always drew inspiration from nature.
This pop-art icon has been creating fresh work since the 1950s. Kusama bought her work to life in the 1960s and has since then captivated the world.
According to Art News, auction houses have sold more than $550 million worth of Kusama artworks in the last ten years. With an auction record of $7.9 million for one of her historic 1959 “Infinity Net” paintings, Kusama is the world’s top-selling living female artist in the world.
Her infinity rooms became a sensation amongst artists and critics as well as the media. Museum visitors shared more than 330 million impressions of the exhibition on social media.
Her over 122 museum exhibitions and shows have been displayed all over the world including New York, Australia, Norway, Berlin and Singapore. With her exhibitions touring 34 cities, her name has landed back in London to give her fans a chance to taste the brilliance of life.
The exhibition, held in the Tate Modern museum, opened in the UK this year and is now so popular that the event is fully booked until 24 October. However, due to the overwhelming amount of support, Kusama has extended her closing date till June 2022.
From a young age, Kusama experienced a multitude of hallucinations. Inspired by natures ability to reflect, she used the idea of a revived frame to create captivating environments of dots.
Her family, however, did not approve of her creative abilities, which only encouraged her to create even more. She used her art to make sense of the world she lived in. She wanted to design an interactive installation that would show people how patterns not only repeat in nature but how they repeat through her own anxiety and hallucinatory episodes.
She started creating infinity rooms that were filled with mirrors to reflect patterns, repetition and symmetry. Most of her pieces reflect a form of anxiety or chaos but mostly it takes us to a place of escape from reality.
By using the medium of LED lights, the light reflecting in the mirrors makes you feel like you were in an endless space.
Visitors are expected to pass on a walkway made of mirrored tiles. The walls and ceiling are mirrored and the floor is covered with a shallow pool of water.
In 2012, it was the largest mirror installation piece ever created.
The various forms of dots and light literally engulf you. All the rooms are different and with the mirrored glass as the main feature, she often uses wood, aluminium, plastic and ceramic materials too.
As soon as you step into the room, you are taken through an immersive time-travelling illusion. An experience that could either elevate you into space or bring you back down to piles of earth luxuries. It is a reflection exhibition aimed to heighten your senses. We are so used to living our lives through a frame that we tend to forget to appreciate the wonders of the world around us.
With an infinite space, each room teleporting guests to a number of worlds. All the rooms are different and unique, some expressing joy and delight, while others embrace a more sombre and symbolic feeling. From getting lost to finding ourselves, it could be a therapeutic journey for most. For others, it could be an inspiring event. Just experiencing the beauty of symmetry or repetition can somewhat change us.
Today, the 92-year-old, who for the past 41 years, has been living, voluntarily, in a psychiatric hospital still continues to produce her signature larger-than-life polka-dotted pumpkins, reflective Infinity rooms and a number of other artistic experiences.
“If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago. I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland” – Yayoi Kusama
People queue for hours to view her work, which can often last as little as 30 seconds when inside.
The exhibition called: Filled with the Brilliance of Life, contains two of the immersive installations, one of them being Chandelier of Grief, a room filled with rotating crystal chandeliers.
With an entrance fee of just £10, timed tickets must be booked prior to visiting.
Guests can also choose to book a Yayoi Kusama inspired two-course lunch experience and exhibition entry for £35 pounds.