This is a rare opportunity to celebrate a living artist whose radical yet playful vision has had an amazing influence on art, design and contemporary culture throughout her decades of work.
(Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO)
Spanning over five decades, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors focuses on the evolution of the Japanese artist’s immersive, multi-reflective infinity mirror rooms. The exhibition provides visitors with the unique opportunity to experience six of Kusama’s most iconic kaleidoscopic environments at once, alongside large-scale, whimsical installations of over 60 key paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the early 1950s to the present. It also marks the North American debut of numerous new works by the 88-year-old artist, who is still actively creating in her Tokyo studio. These include large-scale, vibrantly coloured paintings and the recently realized infinity room, All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins (2016), featuring dozens of her signature bright yellow, dotted pumpkins.
While Kusama’s infinity nets, dot paintings, and sculptures have been widely exhibited, this project will be the first to focus on the phenomenological impact of the infinity rooms over the scope of her career. The exhibition will present a chronological sequence of Kusama’s installations, guiding visitors through the evolution of her immersive environments between 1965 and the present. Assisted by attendants at each of the installation entrances, visitors will enter the mirror rooms in groups of two or three, experiencing the illusionistic space reflecting to infinity within each.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors begins with the artist’s milestone installation Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (1965/2016), a dense and dizzying field of hundreds of red-spotted phallic tubers in a room lined with mirrors.
The exhibition will also include Infinity Mirror Room - Love Forever (1966/1995), a hexagonal chamber into which viewers will be able to peer from the outside, seeing coloured flashing lights that reflect endlessly from ceiling to floor. The work is a re-creation of Kusama's legendary 1966 mirror room Kusama's Peep Show (no longer extant), in which the artist used to stage group performances in her studio in the late 1960s.
Kusama’s signature bold polka dots will be featured in Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots (2009), a domed mirror room surrounded by inflatables suspended from the ceiling. More recent spectacular LED environments, filled with lanterns or crystalline balls that seem to extend into infinite space, will be represented by Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009) and Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013).
The exhibition will conclude with The Obliteration Room (2002), Kusama’s iconic participatory installation. There visitors are invited to cover every surface of the furnished white gallery with multi-coloured polka dot stickers, ultimately engulfing the space in pulsating colour.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is the most significant North American tour of the artist’s work in nearly two decades. With tickets instantly booked-up upon thier release in both Washington, DC and Seattle, the exhibition promises to be the must-see event of 2018 when it arrives in Toronto – its sole Canadian venue.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors is organized by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution , Washington, DC and is curated by Hirshhorn Curatoror Mika Yoshitake. At the AGO, the exhibition will be coordinated by Adelina Vlas, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art.