Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition

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The exhibition features new paintings, including works from the iconic My Eternal Soul series, painted bronze pumpkin and flower sculptures, and a large-scale Infinity Mirrored Room, created for this presentation, Kusama’s twelfth exhibition at the gallery.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition London Hand Embroidery

Yayoi Kusama exhibition Victoria Miro: Infinity Mirrored Room, 2018

Upon arrival, we were ushered up a vertigo inducingly narrow staircase into a dark upstairs, after a brief queue, we were told that we will have 60 seconds in the Infinity Mirrored Room. Infinity Mirror Rooms are an iconic staple of Kusama’s repertoire of work; once these rooms open their doors to a new city, social media swiftly becomes inundated with these tiny universes of cosmic infinity. 60 seconds is nowhere near long enough to fully appreciate this all encompassing experience, however one cannot complain as the queue was but a fraction of the size of a theme park’s.
Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition London Hand Embroidery

Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © YAYOI KUSAMA

 

In the following room, we were greeted with the vision of three immense spotted pumpkin sculptures, another recurring theme in Kusama’s work. Accompanying the sculpture are paintings from the series ‘Dots Obsession’ and other polka dot dominated paintings, this is almost a real-time amalgamation of the whole body experience from the Infinity Room and the everyday life as we see it; fusing both installation and painting together to create a quasi-reality.  

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition London Hand Embroidery

Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © YAYOI KUSAMA

 

Once through this room, we were guided outside to step amongst three larger-than-life sculptures of childlike fantasy polka dotted flowers. Walking through this sculpture terrace feels like entering a scene from The Day of the Triffids, only on a sugar high. Kusama’s poignant hallucinations, for which her art is therapy, are clearly an inspiration for these gigantuan florals. Almost in correlation with Kusama’s rise to fame in recent years, has been the explosion of discussion around mental health and destigmatisation of mental illness.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition London Hand Embroidery

Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © YAYOI KUSAMA

 

The final room in the exhibition consisted of a wall of 20 square canvases presented edge to edge; each canvas shows a completely unique composition, we could gather no running theme in these paintings bar Kusama’s distinctive painting style. The sensation of feeling overwhelmed returns; each canvas portrays a keyhole insight into Kusama’s mind, thousands of tiny staring eyes wriggling around in the negative space upon the canvas surface. The shapes appear to move around your peripheral vision; as if they are slothing about when their guardian is not watching.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition London Hand Embroidery

Our intern stood next to the paintings for some size reference!

 

We left the exhibition feeling satisfied that our pattern cravings have been satiated – for the meantime at least! Although small, the exhibition packed a mighty, colour filled punch. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the next Kusama exhibition in London anytime soon and will be sure to let you know in advance!

 

Yayoi Kusama – The Moving Moment When I Went To The Universe Exhibition Visit

3 October – 21 December 2018

Free Timed Tickets, Currently Sold Out

Victoria Miro Gallery, 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW

By Jessica Strain