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Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room of Mirrors Touring Across Five Major Art Institutions

August 30, 2016
A philosophy graduate interested in theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

The seventy years long artistic practice of Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan’s most provocative avant-garde artists, resists any singular classification. Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room, her signature series that includes complex installations and purpose-built rooms lined with mirrored glass and filled with various items, is both cosmic and intimate, merging inner and outer space. The exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, a comprehensive survey exhibition that explores the evolution of her immersive infinity rooms, will travel through the United States and Canada in the most significant North American tour of her work in nearly two decades. The organizing institution is the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden where the exhibition will be presented first, and after that, it will travel to Seattle Art Museum, The Broad in Los Angeles, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

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Left: Yayoi Kusama -Infinity Mirror Room, Phalli’s Field, 1965 / Right: Yayoi Kusama -Infinity Mirror Room, Phalli’s Field, 1965

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room Experience

The visitors will have a unique opportunity to experience six of Kusama’s most iconic kaleidoscopic rooms organized in rough chronological order. Beginning with the milestone installation Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field filled with hundreds of red-spotted phallic tubers, the exhibition will also include Infinity Mirror Room – Love Forever, a hexagonal box with a peephole and reflecting flashing lights, Dots Obsession – Love Transformed into Dots, the room filled with balloon sculptures of vinyl, the Obliteration Room, an all-white replica of a domestic setting that will be covered with colorful dots, and more recent Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity and Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, spectacular LED environments filled with lanterns or crystalline balls. Each venue will offer a truly extraordinary experience and a sensory journey through the artist’s world. Additionally, the exhibition will feature key paintings, sculptures and works on paper created in the last sixty years, but also some new pieces that will now have their North American debut.

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Yayoi Kusama – Infinity Nets Yellow , 1960

The Practice of Yayoi Kusama

Born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Kusama became active in New York avant-garde circles during the formative years of Pop Art and Minimalism. An influential artist to the development of assemblage, environmental art and performative practices, she began developing her interests in the optics and interactive elements of mirrors, electric lights, sound and kinetics in the mid-1960s. Becoming famous for her provocative happenings and exhibitions, her extraordinary artistic endeavors spans various media and continues to appeal to the imagination and the senses. She has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric institution since 1977 traveling often to her studio in Tokyo, and much of her work has been marked with obsessiveness and the struggle with her psychological trauma.

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Left: Yayoi Kusama – Game No 5, 1953 / Right: Yayoi Kusama – The Hill

The North American Tour

The exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors will be accompanied by the exhibition catalog taking an interdisciplinary approach to her work shedding new light on this pioneering artists. The publication also includes catalogue raisonne of the artist’s Infinity Rooms, an illustrated chronology and artist biography. The exhibition will be on view at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from February 23rd until May 14th, 2017, at the Seattle Art Museum from June 30th until September 10th, 2017, The Broad in Los Angeles from October 2017 until January 2018, the Art Gallery of Ontario from March until May, 2018, and the Cleveland Museum of Art from July until October, 2018. The Broad Museum is currently featuring the artist’s installation Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away from their collection, that will be subsequently included in the special exhibition in 2017.

Featured images: Yayoi Kusama – Obliteration Room, 2012; Yayoi Kusama-Infinity Mirror Room, Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity; Yayoi Kusama-Infinity Mirror Room, Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity; Yayoi Kusama; Yayoi Kusama – All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins, 2016; Yayoi Kusama – All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins, 2016. All images courtesy of Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum.