KUSAMA: Eternal Love for Pumpkins

 

Absolute babe of life, Yayoi Kusama, has been at the forefront of pop art for almost 5 decades. The Japanese artist has developed a diverse and varied practice for almost seventy years. Her fantastic and whacky artistic endeavours have included everything from sculpture to painting, film to performance, installation to print design. She has even had a whack at fashion, notably her collaborations with Louis Vuitton and Uniqlo. She has embraced product design, literature an even environmental art. Is there anything that the world’s most popular artist can’t do?

This year her residency at the Victoria Miro galleries in London continues. At the Mayfair gallery she exhibits her paintings, a recent body of work, created in the last year, called Infinity Nets, which shows colourful mesh-like, polkadotty, aboriginal patterns on brightly coloured canvases. She also exhibits simultaneously at the beautiful Wharf Road gallery in Islington with her installations, sculptures and yet more paintings. For an eighty-seven year old, her ability to still be actively working accross multiple mediums is just remarkable right?! The exhibition here includes some of Kusama’s favourite things… Infinty, Pumpkins and Polkadots.

Pumpkins have been a recurring motif in Kusama’s work since the 40s. Her family worked in the fields near Matsumoto, Japan, cultivating seeds of kabocha squash, so they are a nostalgic symbol of her childhood. The upstairs room pays homage to the squash, with incredible, giant, polished metallic sculptures.

She shows three infinity rooms tiled with mirrors and lit beautifully. The first, playfully by glowing pumpkins. The second by ambient and sombre spinning chandeliers and the third, punctured holes allowing outside light to create a nights sky. The mirrors make it look like the rooms stretch on forever, like a dream that you can’t wake up from. Not that you’d want to. Sadly because of the sheer popularity of the exhibition, you only have a brief minute to enjoy each room. If only I could recreate one in my bedroom. It’s most definitely worth a visit.

Mandkhai Jargalsaikhan