Yayoi Kusama: sculptures, paintings & mirror rooms

25 May — 30 July 2016

Tantalising Glimpses of infinity

Yayoi Kusama’s work reflect on the cosmos and something beyond the physical plane. Manifesting as total environments, individual sculptures or paintings that connect humble creative acts with cathartic release. The rooms reproduced in a controlled and ordered fashion the intense mental states the artist has suffered from since childhood.

As you slide into Chandelier to Grief, 2016, you anticipate a transformation, featuring a rotating chandelier in the centre of an hexagon. My thoughts turn to how a singular grief or anxiety, can be turned into a thing of beauty, expanded upon, and its secret patterns unveiled. The effect when looking up is like that of a constellation of stars ordered like cherry blossoms, the gentle movement brings a sense of intelligent souls infinitely collecting like in the dance of Dante’s paradiso. The occasional blue burst of electric light, adds a visual depth and complexity to the dreamlike dapplings. With time, hidden views, perspectives and insights emerge.

Pumpkin Mirror Polished Bronze, 2016, look as delightfully crafted as Harley Davidsons, with their complement of matt polka dots. They are filled with modern joyful and soothing energy, along with the spiritual concerns of Japanese craftsmanship

Kusama gets you to see infinity in a pumpkin. Pattern and time are conflated, with the infinite and the humble. Her Famous Polka dots are in a sense is an utterly democratic unit of expression, which anybody could pick up and do. While attention and pleasure is derived from the thoughtful, variations of optical patterns.

The Kabocha squash, functions as a form of self portrait for the artist, closely associated with fond memories of home, where her family (which opposed her becoming an artist) made its living cultivating plant seeds.

The combination of the formalism grid and the organic swirl could be seen as how Kusama integrates the world and her personal experience. These are twin branches of modernism, rational and irrational modes of seeing that are rarely reconciled.

The brevity, queueing and the limitation of a minute, reminds you this is a shared experience providing a mediation and a heightening of the sense as you try to grasp as much of an impression as you can.

In All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, the first mirror pumpkin room, created since 1991, The fluorescent Yellow look golden in the infinite reflections.

As those queueing are ushered in, you notice, most are already armed with their mobiles ready to take Selfies. It’s a curious accident, but not a surprise, that her works are so Selfie friendly. As her work deals with narcissism, (The Narcissus Garden 1966, a ‘kinetic carpet’ of steel balls set in a pond), and shifts in the location of the subject and the gaze.

If you share, a room with others, rather than feel another person has intruded into your personal experience, it is delightful to notice the unfolding responses.

In experiencing the mirror rooms, there are shifts from the very personal, individual experience to placing the self in an expansive sublime plane to an ultimately communal experience. Though it is worth pondering how apparent this is in this positive and massively popular exhibition.

This article is an extended version of the Review availible in the East End Review — Page 11 http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk//launch.aspx?eid=8646f231-0eb2-4193-8aea-c4c9e6306ca5

The Exhibition has paintings on show at a Second Mayfair Location

Victoria Miro

16 Wharf Road London N1 7RW | Tuesday — Saturday 10am — 6pm (last entry 5.30pm) | Free admission | No tickets required but capacity is limited and there may be a wait during busy times
London N1 7RW
t: 44 (0)20 7336 8109

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Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul paintings

14 St George Street London W1S 1FE | Tuesday — Saturday 10am — 6pm | Free admission

25 May — 30 July 2016

Victoria Miro Mayfair

14 St George Street
London W1S 1FE
t: 44 (0)20 3205 8910