On Friday I decided to take advantage of the late night opening hours at the Tate Modern and attend the relatively new Yayoi Kusama exhibition. Going into it, I only knew a few things about the well known female Japanese artist. These things included:
1. In 1977, Kusama voluntarily checked herself into a mental hospital
2. She has been working and producing major pieces and installations from said hospital ever since
3. She hung out with Andy Warhol and his friends while developing her career in New York
4. Polka dots are kind of her thing
The exhibition, the largest she’s ever had in the UK, covered some of her earliest works from the 1950s all the way to some newer ones, including a mirrored installation created specifically for this show at the Tate. While much of her work is not necessarily to my taste, namely her accumulation structures of furniture covered in phalli, some of her later pieces are slightly more appealing. See image above: an ordinary room in which all the objects are covered in basic polka dot stickers, lit by a black light to emphasise Kusama’s trademark spots.
The final room of the show was perhaps my favourite – potentially because I found most of the other pieces quite unsettling but probably because it was more ‘quirky spectacle’ than ‘commentary on the socio political scene of our time’. Something of which I sometimes I prefer.
Upon walking into the Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, I was met with exactly what it promised: an entirely mirrored room decked out with hanging pin lights alternating in a brilliant show of colour. Walking through the space, with water on both sides of my path, I lost all sense of space around me. The image of glowing dots fading into infinity took me out of my time and place and during those few minutes, I enjoyed a great reminder of art’s ability to move us.