Yayoi Kusama is one of my favourite contemporary artists. She was born in Matsumoto (Japan) and she is famous especially for her sculptures and installations. However, she is also active in painting, film, performance, fashion, poetry and other arts. Her work is very personal (autobiographical) and is based in conceptual art showing some characteristics of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, pop art, abstract expressionism, etc. And in some of them it is easy to see psychological and sexual content.
From Infinity Nets to Infinity Rooms
In 1950, Kusama was working with abstract forms (especially dots that later became the trademark of her work) in watercolour, gouache, oil at first on paper, but then she started to cover surfaces as wall, floor, canvases. She called them infinity nets and explained that they were taken from her hallucinations.
After living in Tokyo and in France, Kusama moved to United States at the age of 27. There she worked in her Infinity/Mirror installations. They’re purpose-built rooms lined with mirrored glass that contain scores of neon-coloured balls, hanging at various heights above the viewer. Standing inside on a small platform, an observer can see the light repeatedly reflected off the mirrored surfaces creating the illusion of a never-ending space. By 1966 she was experimenting with room-size and independent installations that incorporated mirrors, lights or even piped-in music.
In my opinion her Infinity Nets and Infinity Rooms have the same meaning idea: the multiplication or repetition. By using the mirrors, she could transform the intense repetition of her earlier works on paper and walls into a perceptual experience, more than this, into an immersion experience within the work of art.
Until today, Kusama has produced more than 20 different Infinity Mirror Rooms. Some of them are in permanent exhibition:
- Infinity Dots Mirrored Room (1996), Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies (2005), Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona
- Gleaming Lights of the Souls (2008), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, HUMLEBÆK, Denmark
- Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013), The Broad, Los Angeles, California
- Infinity Mirror Room – Longing for eternity (2017), The Broad, Los Angeles, California
- Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field (1965/2016), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands.