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London – Yayoi Kusama exhibitions are welcomed as regular to London. After the successful shows in 2012, the Victoria Miro Gallery in London has presented “Yayoi Kusama: Sculptures, Paintings & Mirror Rooms” an amazing solo exhibition.
This was the major exhibition of Yayoi Kusama at the Victoria Miro Gallery, London, to date. Also, it was the first time mirror rooms have gone on view in London since the artist key retrospective at Tate Modern (2012).
Displayed in all the three Victoria Miro Gallery’s locations, the Yayoi Kusama exhibition presented new paintings, sculptures and installations. The most intriguing location was at the Wharf Road galleries where the artist has created three mirror rooms: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, Chandelier of Grief and Where the Lights in My Heart Go.
The numerous visitors of those rooms were displaced by the innumerable multiplying reflections. Astonishing were the pumpkin sculptures, which were covered with polka dots, the distinctive brand of Kusama. The waterside garden installation was wonderful. The thick ‘infinity net’ pattern in her painting work is a Kusama’s compulsive repetition of these forms on canvas.
Yayoi Kusama has described her recurring motifs as a form of active annihilation, in response to the hallucinations she firstly experienced during her childhood. Returning to throughout her career, the pumpkin motif is also present in the form of new mirror polished sculptures.
Victoria Miro Mayfair presented new paintings from the significant ongoing series My Eternal Soul, which Kusama first began in 2009. Each is a flatly painted monochrome field that is plentiful with metaphors including eyes, faces in profile, and other more uncertain forms, often in vital combinations of colour. Painted flat on a tabletop, these brightly coloured canvases proliferate of free association between images, including eyes, suns, profiles, uncertain and tiny forms, together with the artist dots and nets brand.
Classifying the work of Yayoi Kusama is difficult. However, it is connected with Surrealism, Minimalism, Pop art, the Zero and Nul movements, Eccentric Abstraction and Feminist art.
Yayoi Kusama is born on 22nd March 1929, in Matsumoto City (Japan). She studied painting in Kyoto before moving to New York in the late 1950s. By the mid-1960s she had become renowned in the avant-garde environment for her challenging happenings and exhibitions. Since this time, Kusama’s amazing artistic effort was realized through a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, performance, film, printmaking, installation, and environmental art as well as literature, product design, and fashion – remarkably her collaboration with Louis Vuitton (2012). She lives and works in Tokyo and has exhibited with Victoria Miro since 1998.
A sing of the fame of Yayoi Kusama were the long queues outside the Victoria Miro Galleries. Even in London, so many visitors for a private gallery exhibition are rare to be seen. Especially the last day, people started to queue in the early morning to have access later on. Visiting the installation inside was regulated by the staff using a stopwatch. You were allowed inside for 20-30 seconds only, depending from which installation visiting. The overwhelming participation confirmed Kusama is one of the beloved and most significant living artists in the world.
TIME Magazine just recently listed Kusama in between the World 100 Most Influential People. According to The Art
Newspaper she is the world’s most popular artist – based on figures reported for global museum attendance. Her exhibitions were consistently the most visited worldwide last year, with three record breaking museum tours simultaneously traveling through Asia, Central and South America and Scandinavia.
Yayoi Kusama is currently the subject of a museum tour throughout Northern Europe, from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, (2015-2016) to Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2016); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016) and Helsinki Art Museum (2016-2017). Recent survey exhibitions include Infinite Obsession, 2013-2015, which was seen by over two million people during its two-year tour in South America; A Dream I Dreamed and Eternity of Eternal Eternity which travelled to institutions across Asia from 2013-2015 and 2012-2014, respectively. Yayoi Kusama, a major retrospective, was presented from 2011 to 2012 at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Kusama represented Japan at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993.
Works by the artist are held in museum collections throughout the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; amongst many others.
Currently at Chiostro del Bramante in Rome, the exhibition “Yayoi Kusama: Sculptures, Paintings & Mirror Rooms” was at the Victoria Miro Gallery, London, from 25th May to 30th July 2016.
(This article re-edited on 7th july 2018)