Why Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirror Rooms’ at the Tate Modern is all over your Instagram feed right now
There’s nothing like a Yayoi Kusama exhibition to signal London’s cultural reawakening. Open for Tate Modern members from 18 May (non-members 14 June), the mesmerising Infinity Mirror Rooms is already causing a media frenzy amongst the glitterati — who’ve begun sharing Instagram posts and reels galore.
With highlights including never-before-seen footage of the artist’s early bohemian performances in New York City and a new 2021 sculptural work entitled The Universe as Seen from the Stairway to Heaven, Kusama devotees are snapping up private-view tickets at an astonishing rate. The exhibition also offers aficionados the primo opportunity to experience two of Kusama’s critically-acclaimed light installations in a single outing.
The largest of said installations is Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, originally crafted for Kusama’s 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern. In this immersive work, a mirrored walkway above a shallow pool and reflective walls endlessly multiply a constellation of suspended lights — conjuring the sensation of inhabiting an infinite space saturated with winking stars.
As the spheres of lights pulse rhythmically and change from rose to cerulean to amber, Kusama challenges the viewer to share in this ‘self-obliteration’ — akin to her visual hallucinations where she becomes ‘obliterated’ by dots. ‘Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos,’ reflects Kusama, ‘When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment.’
Alongside the Infinity Mirrored Room, is the breathtaking installation Chandelier of Grief — with its central element being a Venetian-style luminaire of Swarovski crystal. Echoing the old-world ambience of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice and the Château de Versailles, the lustre of Kusama’s chandelier comes to life in a room completely lined with mirrors.
On this relatively recent work, Kusama remarks, ‘Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment.’ Rotating silently overhead, the bewitching fixture suggests that we, as human beings, have the uncanny capacity to experience both beauty and sadness in the same moment — hence the name Chandelier of Grief.
In celebration of Kusama’s triumphant return to Tate Modern, Tate Publishing is reissuing the 2012 exhibition catalogue Yayoi Kusama with a sleek new cover. Complete with an introduction by Frances Morris —Director of Tate Modern and curator of Infinity Mirror Rooms — the lavishly illustrated tome chronicles Kusama’s extraordinary life and details the evolution of her now-iconic oeuvre.
To learn more about the Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms at Tate Modern, please click here. Tickets are selling out quickly, with the exhibition to close in June 2022.
Subscribe now for a trial offer of 3 issues for £1 plus free digital editions and home delivery.
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