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a word on art

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms

Last weekend I visited the incredible Infinity Mirror Rooms by the amazing Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist and writer. Over the course of her career, she has made paintings, sculptures, performances, and installations.

Kusama Yayoi - Louis Vuitton Window Display - Image Via Louis Vuitton

Kusama was born in 1929 in Japan and started making art at a young age. Although, Kusama's family discouraged her, she went on to study painting in Kyoto. In 1957, she moved to the States and spent the 1960s in New York City where she immersed herself in the fast-moving art scene. In 1973, she returned to Japan.

Throughout her life, Kusama has experienced difficulties with her mental health. When returning to Japan, she began to have acute hallucinations. In response to this, she admitted herself to a hospital in Tokyo in 1977. She is still living there now, and says that writing novels, poems and painting are her ‘saviours’.

The first room of the immersive exhibition was called ‘the universe as seen from the stairway to heaven’. It contained a large metal cube with mirrors positioned in a way that created never-ending reflections. This sculpture was created specifically for this exhibition and illustrates what Kusama would see when she experienced her visual hallucinations.

The first infinity mirror room contained a single chandelier which slowly spun in the centre of the room in a glass display case. All the surrounding walls were mirrors, as well as the ceiling and the bottom of the glass case. Wherever you looked, the chandelier was reflected, creating a beautiful pattern of glittering lights. I was mesmerised by the beautiful crystals and the way in which they reflected the light. No matter where you stood in the room, you could see hundreds of beautiful chandeliers glistening in the light. I could not believe that such a simple concept could create something so beautiful and amazing. I was excited to see what the next infinity room would look like!

While waiting for the next infinity room, we watched a small power point which featured a collection of photos that Kusama took in New York. She dressed in traditional Japanese clothing to represent the stereotype of a Japanese person at the time. This slideshow gave me a real sense of her personality and style, and again helped me to understand what she saw.

The second infinity room was my favourite! It consisted of a small path through the room surrounded by water. Once again, the walls were surrounded by mirrors to create the illusion that the room went on forever. From the ceiling, hundreds of tiny lightbulbs dangled in front of us, slowly changing colours and occasionally turning off so that the room was in complete darkness. This room also helped me understand what she felt when hallucinating, I felt slightly disorientated when we walked out of the room.

I had a fantastic time and can’t recommend this exhibition enough, it was fascinating to glimpse into the world of Yayoi Kusama.


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