By Jill Thayer, Ph.D., Contributing Writer, AESTHETICA Magazine, UK, Dec/Jan, 2017
Wit and wonder draw audiences into the existential realm of Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), a visual, installation and performance artist; and leading figure in the Western avant-garde and 1960s counter culture of political activism.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors presents six mirrored rooms, large-scale installations, drawings, paintings, ephemera and sculpture that define the 60-year plus career of the artist. The exhibition presents a mind-altering journey of fantasy and self-discovery inherent to Kusama’s oeuvre, as she explores one’s relationship with infinity and “radical connectivity – creating power through networks of people.” The interactive spaces offer a liminal experience in reflexivity that captures the phenomenology of existence and the imagination. In the process, the viewer becomes participant in media, mirror and message amidst a virtual landscape of dots and delights.
One enters and exits each mirrored room or viewing chamber in 30-second intervals to comprehend a mise-en-scène of mirrors, lights, soft sculpture, and mixed media elements that reflect exponentially into an expanded field of continuum. Installations include Infinity Mirrored Rooms: Phalli’s Field, (her first, originally shown in Floor Show, Castellane Gallery, New York, 1965); Love Forever, 1966; Dots Obsession–Love Transformed into Dots, 2007; Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009; The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013; and All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins, 2016. The latter is the only site where cameras are not allowed, a small sacrifice given the free-flowing imagery captured by the masses and shared enthusiastically on global media platforms.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at The Broad, Los Angeles is organized by Mika Yoshitake, curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. and travels to several major museums in North America. Until 1 January. http://www.thebroad.org
Photos courtesy Jill Thayer, Ph.D.
Jill Thayer, Ph.D. is an artist, educator, art historian, and curatorial archivist. She received her doctorate in Cultural Studies/Museum Studies from Claremont Graduate University with transdisciplinary study in Global Strategy and Trade at St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford, UK. Jill brings insight to the contemporary dialogue by exploring the narratives of people and their contributions to the culture. Her oral history series, “In Their Own Words: Oral Histories of CGU Art,” of Claremont Graduate University Art alumni, professors, and professors emeritus is included in Archives of American Art at The Smithsonian Institution. Jill is a contributing writer for publications internationally. She lives and works on the California Central Coast. http://www.jillthayer.com