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Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow On At Museum MACAN

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Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow On At Museum MACAN
Yayoi Kusama, detail in front of "Life is the Heart of a Rainbow" (2018) Courtesy of: The Jakarta Post.

Yayoi Kusama’s latest exhibition “Life is the Heart of a Rainbow” is currently installed at Museum MACAN in Jakarta, Indonesia. The works on view are apart of one of the largest surveys of work of the contemporary artist Kusama. An impressive seventy years of works will be included, which are represented in over one hundred thirty works. She is best known for her polka dot series which encompass mediums of paintings, print, installation and sculpture, among others. The works evidence large intervals of time and an accumulation of a life’s work, with a beautiful view of the world, that does not waiver but only seems to get more interesting with time.

The repeating forms is a component of her whimsical work, which narrates an experience of lightheartedness and contemplation.

In her “Love Forever” series, which were developed between 2004-2007, Kusama repeats lines, shapes and forms. Some of the iconic imagery in this series of works includes: eyes, flowers, and her signature polka dot patterning. Other paintings include flowers and faces of subjects. The repeating forms is a component of her whimsical work, which narrates an experience of lightheartedness and contemplation. It is as if she is pulling forms from this world that can be readily identified, such as flowers, and putting these compositions next to an all over composition of polka dot patterning to invite us into her imagined world. Kusama works with a marker pen to release these works, which permits greater precision with the fine lines and minute details in her markings. Her compositions fill the entire canvas with meticulous attention to form. No space that could be filled is overlooked.

The variance in the dot sizes is ultimately what creates the illusion of the “Infinity Nets.” This work seems to evoke that nothing ends, and nothing is ever lost.

“Infinity Nets” is one of the more recognized series of painted works by Kusama. These paintings have been composed in a variety of colors, ranging from black, orange, blue, and more. The selected works on view at MACAN include several panels of canvas combined to create a larger, unified image. The concept of the work is that there is not a central point, nor is there an indicator of where the start of the end of the work are. Rather, the canvas contains a high density of dots, undulating in the swirling patterns that develop as a result of the pressure she is applying to the paintbrush while dotting. The variance in the dot sizes is ultimately what creates the illusion of the “Infinity Nets.” This work seems to evoke that nothing ends, and nothing is ever lost.

There is yet another series on view titled “My Eternal Soul” which Kusama began in 2009. With the twenty four paintings on view, audiences are able to see yet another range of skills in her diverse artistic trajectory. This work is surprising from her usual method of highly meticulous, ordered forms. Instead, in this work, Kusama loosens her style and plays with colors and shapes. She plays with colors such as violet, peach, seafoam green, and more. The works feel more playful, depicting abstract scapes of soft edged forms and patterns, among others. In total “My Eternal Soul” series includes five hundred paintings.

Kusama’s installation “Narcissus Garden” is also on view. This large scale work was made for and premiered at the Venice Biennale in 1966. The work consists of an impressive amount of 1,500 sphere shapes. These spheres are metallic and reflective of the space in which they are installed. So at the Museum MACAN, the viewers inside of the room will be able to quite literally see themselves in the work. On the back wall inside of the installation room is a large scale print of Kusama performing inside of “Narcissus Garden” in Venice. It was her intention that this work was presented as a part of a larger critical commentary on the art world.

An additional installation work includes “Obliteration Room.” In this piece, it begins with a start white space with minimal furniture. In each location this work is installed there are different furniture pieces. For the Museum MACAN version on view, there is a “wayang kulit” which is an Indonesian furniture piece. For “Obliteration Room” the audience is instructed to put colorful stickers all over the entire room in order to transform the space. In this way, the polka dot patterning expands from the canvas and onto the walls, floor, ceiling, etc. The separation between art and life is broken down through this immersive, interactive installation.


The exhibition is scheduled to remain open until September 8, 2018. For more information on “LIFE IS THE HEART OF THE RAINBOW”, please visit the Museum MACAN website here.


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.



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