From 3 October to 21 December 2018 in London, Victoria Miro presents a major exhibition of new work by Yayoi Kusama. This exhibition features new paintings, including works from the iconic ‘My Eternal Soul’ series, painted bronze pumpkin and flower sculptures, and a large-scale infinity room, and takes place across the Wharf Road galleries and waterside gardens.
Kusama’s unique and diverse body of work, highly personal in nature, connects profoundly with global audiences. Her oeuvre continues to address the twin themes of cosmic infinity and personal obsession, with the new works in this series as testament to an artist at the height of her powers as she approaches her 90th birthday. Her ongoing and highly celebrated series ‘My Eternal Soul’ once again evokes her joyful improvisation, fluidity, and instincts as an artist; they are abound with imageries of eyes, faces in profile, along with other indeterminate forms. This includes the dots for which Kusama is synonymous, offering impressions of worlds at once microscopic and macroscopic.
Image courtesy of Victoria Miro
Kusama’s pumpkin form has been a recurring motif in her career since the late 1940s. Her family cultivated plant seeds in Matsumoto, additionally allowing her to be familiar with the kabocha squash in the fields that surrounded her childhood home. Writing about the significance of pumpkins in her 2011 book ‘Infinity Net: the Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama’, she states how “It seems that pumpkins do not inspire much respect. But I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form. What appealed to me most was the pumpkin’s generous unpretentiousness. That and its solid spiritual balance.’ Works on display at Victoria Miro include new bronze pumpkins painted in vibrant hues of red, yellow and green. The black dots that adorn these pumpkins symbolise Kusama’s hallucinations that began in the early childhood that left her seeing repeated patterns that engulfed her field of vision.
Kusama has painted pumpkins since childhood, and recalls how she would “confront the spirit of the pumpkin, forgetting everything else and concentrating my mind entirely upon the form before me”. She compares herself to Bodhidharma, stating how just as he spent ten years facing a stone wall, she spent as much facing a pumpkin, even regretting having to take time to sleep. The works on display, created using the same palette of red, yellow and green, reveal myriad variations of the pumpkin form and its pattern of repeated dots. Varying from evocations of single pumpkins on patterned grounds to almost abstract, vertical forms, pulsating with energy, each painting carries its own distinct mood and character.
Image courtesy of Victoria Miro
Like pumpkins, flowers have long been an important part of Kusama’s art. Sharing the artist’s distinctive bold palette, large-scale, painted bronze flower sculptures are exhibited outside in the gallery’s waterside garden where, characteristically, they straddle a line between nature and exuberant artifice. At once simplified and fantastical, these forms, their surfaces covered with polka-dotted planes of vivid colour, are designed to be viewed from multiple angles, encouraging audiences to move around them.
The exhibition marks the debut of INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – MY HEART IS DANCING INTO THE UNIVERSE that envelops visitors inside a large mirrored room with paper lanterns covered with polka dot patterns, which are suspended from the ceiling. Conveying the illusion of being unmoored in endless space, this large-scale work, the latest example of Kusama’s famed immersive environments, offers a sense of infinity through the interplay of the rhythmic patterns of colourful spots covering the black spherical lamps and the surrounding mirrors.
Yayoi Kusama: THE MOVING MOMENT WHEN I WENT TO THE UNIVERSE
3 October–21 December 2018
Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
To find out more about this exhibition, click here.
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