Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room

Published:  December 9, 2013

Yayoi Kusama’s latest exhibition, I Who Have Arrived In Heaven, is showing at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery, and the centrepiece is an immensely convoluted and spectacular installation titled Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away.

Initiating queue times of around 5 hours, Kusama’s crowd-drawing Infinity Mirrored Room is composed of hundreds of small, pulsing, multicoloured, low-energy LED lights that are infinitely reflected by artfully arranged wall-to-wall mirrors and a shallow pool of water on the floor. The effect is a mesmerising optical illusion of galactic proportions. The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away evokes the fear and awe that both the concept of infinity and the prospect of endless space instil in us.

“They flicker on and off in a strobe-like effect,” writes Zwirner Gallery, “producing an intense illumination of the space and a repetitive pattern of reflections that suggest endlessness and ultimately invoke concepts of life and death… The exhibition’s title, I Who Have Arrived In Heaven, reflects the artist’s long-standing interest in cosmic realms and resonates with the autobiographical element that runs through her oeuvre.”

“It is a planetarium contained in a room the size of a walk-in closet,” writes William Grimes, of The New Yorker. “Cosmic and intimate at the same time, it merges inner and outer space, science and mysticism, the personal and the impersonal.”

The exhibition also features a series of vivid, heavily saturated paintings that measure up to nearly two metres tall. “Vibrant, animated and intense,” writes Zwirner Gallery, “the paintings transcend their medium to introduce their own pictorial logic, which appears both contemporary and universal.”

The 84-year-old Japanese artist has been critically lauded for her work since the 1960s, when she lived in New York and orchestrated politically motivated projects and demonstrations, in opposition to events such as the Vietnam War. Since 1973, Kusama has been living in Tokyo, voluntarily committed in a facility for the mentally ill. Outside of painting, sculpting and installation, Kusama has written surreal novels, designed conceptual fashion and worked on film projects.

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I Who Have Arrived In Heaven runs from 8 to 21 December at David Zwirner Gallery, Chelsea, New York. Read more about the exhibition here, or find out more about Yayoi Kusama here.

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