A Visit to the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition at the Tate Modern

Kusama exhibition at the Tate Gallery

Kusama Exhibition

This follows on from an earlier post; for a long time I’ve wanted to see a Kusama’s art and primarily her installation work. I went to the Tate Modern yesterday and it was an amazing experience, probably the most mind-blowing exhibition that I’ve been to. No pictures can do justice to her installation art. I was moved on so many levels, at times looking at her art it brought me back to seeing the world through the eyes of a child. The installation titled ‘ I’m Here, but Nothing‘ was as if you were entering the mind of another person, a hallucinogenic sensory experience of another realm.



To quote the guide book;

I’m Here, but Nothing

Is a darkened domestic interior featuring everyday furniture and accessories. In Kusama’s installation, however, this image of bourgeois stasis is turned into something surreal and uncanny. The room and all its furnishings are covered with fluorescent sticker spots which glow in the dim light.

For Kusama the polka dot can be visual shorthand signifying her hallucinatory visions. Covering a room in psychedelic polka dots might be read as Kusama’s attempt to visualise and re-stage the experience of her own hallucinatory episodes, during which she senses the physical world is overtaken by endlessly repeated forms. The artist’s representation of her inner world results in an installation that is fantastical and potentially unsettling for the viewer, as the spots are more readily experienced as interruptions of our own field of vision rather than a surface motif on each object or wall. 

One of the other installations was titled ‘Infinity Mirror Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life’, again an extraordinary experience. A room filled with mirrors, and water trays on the floor. The suspended lights synchronised to change colours. It was a total immersion in a dimension of light and colour. As I mentioned earlier no photo can do this justice, it is a total sensory experience.

To quote the Guide Book;

Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life

Kusama - infinity mirrored room

infinity mirrored room

One of Kusama’s enduring obsessions has been the depiction of infinite space, which she has explored to magical effects in her Infinity Mirror Rooms. She first used mirrors in the 1965 installation Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field, and reflecting surfaces have become a recurring element in her work. In the last decade she has made a number of these large scale environments that viewers can walk into and explore, surrounded by their own reflected image. Kusama has created a new infinity Mirror Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life specifically for this exhibition, and is the largest such installation Kusama has made to date.

Kusama’s mirrored installations propose an experience of the infinite, inviting the viewer to suspend his or her sense of self and accompany Kusama on her ongoing journey of self-obliteration.

When I left the exhibition I needed to sit down for a while and get grounded. If you have the opportunity to visit the exhibition go for it – don’t miss this incredible experience.

Last but not least, Kusama’s art is featured on the latest London Underground Map (January 2012).

eyes of mine

late night chat is filled with dreams

Kusama Installation

Exhibition Poster

Kusama design on London Underground Map