A Look Inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors

A Look Inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors

A Look Inside Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors 1440 428 Hannah Namenyi

The highly anticipated and uber-popular Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibit recently concluded at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Before the captivating experience came to close I was able to experience it in all its grandeur. Cleveland was the show’s fifth of six stops including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC; the Seattle Art Museum; the Broad in Los Angeles; and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. It’ll make a final appearance at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta early next year.

Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors
Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors

The two-year North American tour has drawn an immense amount of interest from across the US, and Cleveland was no exception. Reportedly in a one-day exclusive member sale, they sold over 20,000 tickets alone and anticipated final visitor numbers would be around 100,000. The entire exhibit spans six decades of Kusama’s career. In addition to the seven Infinity Rooms, a selection of more than 60 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper were on display.

Before going through the exhibit, Kusama’s story gave visitors some background to her art. Born in Matsumoto, Japan, she began having vivid hallucinations at the age of ten, which she still experiences today. She’s used art as a way to express the way she feels and some of what she sees. For the past 40 years, the 89-year-old has chosen to live voluntarily in a mental hospital in Tokyo. Right across the street from the hospital is the studio where she still works every day. Given her inability to travel though she has never seen an incarnation of this show. I can say she would be satisfied.

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors

The repetition of pattern, color, light, and shapes in her work was overwhelming and a little surreal to experience. The infinity rooms, which were approximately 15’ x 15’ boxes, enclosed you into a different universe. Given the high interest and attendance though, visitors are limited to 20-30 seconds to experience each space.

Yayoi Kusama’s Exhibit
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors

The execution of the exhibit was so impressive down to all the little details, that you really were “experiencing” her art, rather than viewing it. It was neat to see her play with scale with the smaller “infinity boxes” that you could look into rather than enter. There was one piece that had giant inflated pink polka dot spheres seeming to float around the space and lead out and up a two-story space, immersing you even within the circulation spaces.

Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors

While mirrors were a dominant medium throughout the installation, the diversity of additional materials—wood, mirror, metal, plastic, acrylic, glass, LED lighting—captivated your attention throughout.

At the opening, CMA’s curator of contemporary art, Reto Thüring, said, “At this point, I think it’s certainly fair to say she’s one of the most important living artists. She’s really had a presence in the art world for more than five decades.”

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