Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective
Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
November 15, 2021 – April 23, 2022
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929, Matsumoto, Japan) is one of the most important artists of our time. This is her first major exhibition in Israel, bringing together artworks produced over an eighty-year period. This extensive survey of the artist’s career to date traces her work in Japan, the United States, and Europe, from her early paintings and sculptures to her immersive installations.
Growing up in Matsumoto during Japan’s foreign policy of expansion in the 1940s, Kusama’s family earned their living by running a seed nursery. In 1948, at the age of nineteen, she moved to Kyoto to study the traditional nihonga painting style at the Kyoto Municipal School of Art and Crafts. She subsequently trained in the yōga style – a form of Japanese painting in a Western style, associated with the rapid modernization of Japan. Moving to the United States in the late 1950s – at the encouragement of the American painter Georgia O’Keeffe, with whom she had corresponded – Kusama’s reputation in New York and Europe grew in the 1960s. Her work was exhibited simultaneously in New York galleries and in Amsterdam, The Hague, Essen, Milan, Rotterdam, and Venice.
Kusama has worked with numerous media, such as painting, collage, sculpture, video, performance, installation, fashion, literature, and music. Her all-enveloping environments, including her Infinity Mirror Rooms and large-scale installations- the two newest of which were created specifically for the current exhibition-aim to overwhelm the senses. Infinity and self-obliteration are the main recurring themes in Kusama’s work. Obsessive patterns of dots and nets cover surfaces with ceaseless repetition, and mirrors create dizzying spaces that replicate our gaze. Blurring the boundaries between figure and surrounding world, Kusama seeks universal expansion into infinity. The exhibition is organized by Gropius Bau, Berlin, in collaboration with Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
The Infinity Mirrored Room can be entered by one or two people at a time. Each guest will have 30 seconds to view the room and take photos. At the end of the time, you will be asked to exit the room. Kindly respect the time limitation as part of the experience.
The Infinity Mirrored Room, The Eternally Infinite Light of the Universe Illuminating the Quest for Truth, is dark and small, and consists of mirror-lined spaces with LED lights that slowly change color. This may trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. Guests who have sensitivities to flashing lights or dark, enclosed spaces, or neurodiverse guests prone to sensory overstimulation, should bypass this experience.