“I want to bring joy and happiness through art. I have no regrets to have spent all my life making art”–Yayoi Kusama
So my fridge calendar reminded me of Yayoi Kusama and how her exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario is ending tomorrow. With that said, I decided to finally share my experience and thoughts on the exhibit.
It was a couple of months ago when selfies of people started circling my feed on Instagram. They are standing in the middle of what I could tell were mirrored rooms reflecting infinite images of lights, dots and pumpkins. I got interested.
I’ve never heard of Yayoi Kusama or her Infinity Mirrors but upon looking her up, I instantly talked my brother into seeing the exhibit with me. It was no surprise that pre-sold tickets flew quick. We were one of the few who bet their luck on same-day tickets.
I kid you not, the gallery starts selling the tickets at 10am and people start lining up as early as 7am. That was our initial plan too. We got up a little late tho and ended up lining past 8am. The queue was already fairly long that time. I still remember how we were low-key counting heads just to see if we’ll score tickets. The weather wasn’t too kind on us either. It was cold and windy. We stood well on our grounds and after the hours that seemed like years, our luck turned and we got our golden ticket!
I think this is the part where I say I’m not one of those artsy people nor have I studied art. I may have done a little bit of reading on film but the point is, I cannot give those scholarly art critiques. This is not even the right blog for that. I can only talk about my experience.
After stepping into the first mirrored room, I instantly felt chills. I always say this, it felt like I wasn’t looking at an installation, a sculpture or an artwork.. I’m experiencing it!
Ok, my photos do not give the rooms justice. However, I think they could speak about the room themselves. The only word I really have for them is “other-worldly.”
It is true that the line up to see each room could take hours and the time you have inside is only 40 seconds. I am gonna say this though, it’s worth it! Those magical seconds are enough to transport you into a different place and give you a different sensation. It’s enough to make you think about how limitless art truly is.
I could talk about each room but that would mean a really long and boring write up. I will tell you tho about two of my personal favorites. One of them is the “Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.” I have always wanted to see floating lanterns but I never get the chance to do so.
The inside of the room felt a bit warm and cold at the same time. It was warm because of all the lights and yet the constant opening of the door for people coming in and out was enough for a little cool breeze to enter.
I had the the most “feels” that room. To one culture, lanterns could mean sending wonderful wishes; To another, it could mean sending off the departed. Staring at an infinite image of myself in the middle of it was both beautiful and sad. I have never experienced something so surreal in such a small space.
My other favorite is “Dots Obsession.”
You could tell that this wasn’t just a tiny room but rather a big space. Dots within dots, dots of different sizes, a peep-show and a tiny room filled with infinite dots, and a video of Kusama singing were present in that space. It was literally screaming “obsession.” Being there made me feel like I was “Alice in Wonderland” only, I was in a polka-dotted world filled with music and pink hues.
The entire exhibit is full of “trivia,” quotes, write ups, etc about Kusama (I purchased a book about Infinity Mirrors as well). After the things I’ve read about her, I am now a fangirl.
To have her vision of life, love and death be conveyed in a manner like no other was enough to make her one of my real-life girl heroes.
Truly, Kusama’s art is like a category of its own. The Infinity Mirrors are not only answers to some of the artist’s fears and obsessions in life, they were also questions of existence and possibilities to the people who experience it.
I will leave you now with another photo. I know taking pictures and selfies is always a debatable issue in art galleries; But I believe that people who share their photos over and over, actually becomes a part of the magic of “Infinity.”