Imagine an upcoming art exhibit surrounded by such a frenzy that the gallery curating it has to come up with very strict rules for the visitors, to ensure that every presentation runs smoothly. Infinity Mirror by the artist Yayoi Kusama is so popular that every visitor is only allowed 20 to 30 seconds in each of the mirrored chambers, in which sparkling LED lights, luminous acrylic pumpkins, and floating orbs take you on a kaleidoscopic journey.
By Marie-Ève Venne
Kusama, who had first started making her now-famous infinity rooms back in the 1960s, saw a resurgence in interest in her work over the last few years. This is all thanks to the popularity of Instagram and the astronomical amount of selfies snapped in her chambers. If you look up the hashtag #kusama, more than the majority of the photos coming up are indeed of people striking a pose. No matter whether you are a fan of selfies or not, you’ll have to admit that it is quite fascinating to observe how our modern narcissism can generate awareness for projects that would have been otherwise forgotten.
For the fashion and handbag lovers out there, Kusama is the artist who, in 2012, collaborated with Louis Vuitton to launch a capsule collection of colourful items covered in bold spots. The dots are in fact an important part of her work, something that she explains as her reaction to the realization that every human life is “a dot lost among millions of other dots.”
But what is this exhibit truly about?
Organized chronologically, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors begins with the artist’s first installation Infinity Mirror Room: Phalli’s Field, a field of hundreds of red-spotted phallic tubes in a room lined with mirrors. It also includes Infinity Mirror Room: Love Forever, a hexagonal chamber into which viewers will be able to peek into from the outside, seeing coloured flashing lights that reflect endlessly from ceiling to floor. The work is a re-creation of Kusama’s legendary 1966 mirror room Kusama’s Peep Show (no longer extant), in which the artist used to stage group performances in her studio in the late 1960s.
“A DOT LOST AMONG millions OF OTHER DOTS.”
Kusama’s signature bold polka dots will be featured in Dots Obsession: Love Transformed into Dots, a rounded mirror room surrounded by inflatables suspended from the ceiling. More recent impressive LED environments, filled with lanterns or crystalline balls that seem to extend into infinite space, will be represented by Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009) and Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.
Curious to see it yourself? The only Canadian stop for this uber-popular exhibit will be at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in Toronto, making it an exhibit that is even more pressing not to miss for every art aficionado or curious mind. We strongly suggest you book your ticket as quickly as possible, but the exhibit may already be sold out as you are reading this.
The Toronto exhibition of Infinity Mirrors will run from March 3 to May 27, 2018 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.