Thursday, 9 February 2012

An Explosive Mind: Yayoi Kusama

Today is the public opening of a mind-blowing exhibition highlighting the moments of most intense innovation by the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. You feel immersed in a different world exploring deeper levels of consciousness.

Yayoi Kusama
The Passing Winter 2005 (detail)
Tate. Presented by the Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2008

© Yayoi Kusama, courtesy Yayoi Kusama studio inc. Photo: Tate Photography

Kusama's largest mirrored room to date, Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life 2011, was conceived especially for the show and is my favourite installation, it takes your breath away! You feel suspended in an infinite space and the way you perceive it keeps changing as different colours fill the entire room, provoking a kaleidoscopic effect.

Yayoi Kusama, I'm Here but Nothing detail, Tate Modern

It's an otherworldly experience just as in I'm Here, but Nothing, a darkened domestic interior featuring everyday furniture covered with fluorescent sticker spots which glow in the dim light.  

Covering a room in psychedelic polka dots adds an hallucinatory dimension to it. It's as if Kusama wants to take us on a journey with her where one can merge with the surrounding space.  

Yayoi Kusama
Kusama posing in Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show 1963
Installation view, Gertrude Stein Gallery, New York
© Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios Inc.

The exhibition includes Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show 1963, her first room installation and the iconic film Kusama's Self-Obliteration 1968, capturing the free and exploratory spirit of this decade and extending her artistic activity beyond the bounds of a gallery. 

Kusama's extensive body of work covers painting, collage and sculpture, testifying the artist's constant exploration of abstract form and colour. She said her art 'does battle at the border of life and death, questioning what we are and what it means to live and die.'  

Yayoi Kusama 1965
Courtesy of Victoria Miro Gallery, London and Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo

© Yayoi Kusama, courtesy Yayoi Kusama studio inc.
Photo: Eikoh Hosoe

Her surreal visions and representations of her inner world are an inspiration, in particular the depiction of infinite space and her unique way of letting us suspend our sense of self.

This exhibition is supported by Louis Vuitton. Speaking to Vogue TV, Marc Jacobs said "her energy is endless." Kusama and Louis Vuitton are collaborating to create a fashion and accessories line, launching in July.

Yayoi Kusama
9 February - 5 June 2012
Tate Modern

Tate Modern

Other related posts:
Lucian Freud Portraits
Royal Academy of Arts: David Hockney
Chihuly: Colourful Glass Dreams