Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is unlike any exhibition that has been seen in Canada before. She is most famous for her mesmerizing mirrored infinity rooms which have skyrocketed in popularity due to the opportunity to snap a whimsical Instagram selfie within the exhibition space. Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Nagano, in 1929, and is currently still working as an artist in her studio in Tokyo. She spent the majority of her career working in New York City alongside artists such as Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and Allan Kaprow. Her work deals with themes of life, love, death and the concept of infinity. The Infinity Mirror rooms are immersive, awe inspiring and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This exhibition made its Canadian debut at the AGO en route from The Broad in Los Angeles.
The AGO is the only Canadian stop on this hotly anticipated tour. The exhibition has been generating major buzz on social media, but is definitely something you need to see and experience in real life in order to truly understand. Getting tickets for the show was a competitive process and the lines in the exhibit are still crazy, but it is all worth it to experience infinity. The exhibition features six of Kusama’s mirrored rooms all of which are unique, exciting and wow-worthy in their own way. This show is easily the exhibition of the year. Take a look at all of the rooms bellow!
The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away
Like stars in the galaxy, hundreds of LED lights hang and flicker in a rhythmic pattern that seems to suspend both time and space. This room fully encapsulates the theme of infinity as viewers feel tiny and powerless as they are immersed in the never ending glow of floating lights that shimmer.
This is not a room, but a hexagonal shaped box with two peep holes. The box is lined in mirrors on all sides, and invites viewers to peer in and see themselves and another viewer (whom they love) repeated into infinity. This viewing experience feels like looking into a life size kaleidoscope.
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins
Pumpkins are one of Kusama’s most repeated motifs. This whimsical and glowing room takes viewers to a place of fairytale and fantasy. The pumpkins are an homage to Kusama’s childhood and there is definitely a sense of youthfulness in the cheery yet curious vibe of this room.
Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots
Large polka dotted balloons surround the viewer as they hang from the ceiling and occupy the floor. This room is hot pink which feels romantic and flamboyant. The large balls are strung at varying heights almost like a heartbeat fluttering up and down.
Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity
This room is meant to reflect the experience of death and the potential of the afterlife. The golden lights look like lanterns that have been lit in honour of past lives.
This room creates hallucinatory scenes of Kusama’s fears. Kusama believed is she surrounded herself with what she was most afraid of she would be able to overcome her anxieties.
The Obliteration Room
Beginning as a pure white room of furniture and everyday objects, the viewer is invited to complete the work as they are given brightly coloured polka dot stickers to place wherever they want in the space. As the exhibition goes on the room is transformed from a bland stark white space to a playful and crazy polka dot explosion!
Overall, I loved the show and loved the opportunity to learn more about Kusama’s work. These mirrored rooms are unlike any type of contemporary art I have experienced before and I only wish I had more time in each room (the AGO limits 20 seconds per room due to the huge crowds) If you don’t get the chance to see this exhibition in Toronto it might be worth a spontaneous trip to the Seattle Art Museum which is where the show is headed next from June 30th – September 10th.