Infinity Mirrors: Stepping Into Yayoi Kusama's World and the Infinite Line-ups

The AGO will be hosting Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors from March 3 to May 27. Her art assumes the entirety of the 5th floor of the museum, and then, visitors are required to walk down to the 4th floor where the exhibit continues.

The mirror room installations are displayed in Chronological order of its creation, starting with the Phalli’s Field. I think this was effective in showing the progression of her art, but also revealing the recurring themes that were consistently of interest to her.

 

 

Each room requires the complete engagement of the spectator as it encourages visitors to be immersed into Kusama's perspective of the world.

My most favorite installation was All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins. Unfortunately, as per the attendant, the contract specifically indicated that no pictures were to be taken in this room or outside looking in. Kusama relays her memories as a child: visiting a Japanese squash farm with her grandfather. She remembers, however, the pumpkins speaking to her. I thought that was nicely represented as she creates an abstract pumpkin field. I felt deeply connected to this particular piece, especially because I felt a sense of childlike bliss, reminding me of my own school trips to the pumpkin patch.

 

 

Her art breaks the boundaries of spectacle and spectator as you see multiple reflections of yourself. Perhaps this interpretation is mere narcissism. However, it was difficult to look around each room without seeing yourself in every corner you turned. While the mirrors were used as a technique to expand the installation, I could see myself farther and farther into the fields, lost in the art. I was reminded of a scene from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) when Ray was sucked in by the dark force and was greeted with reflections of herself taunting her. Even with the bright colours, I felt a sense of isolation and loneliness despite being in the room with 2 other people most times. Until the door open and you were snapped back to the reality of another line.

There are some aspects which I am conflicted with and I see that there could be some improvements to be made if possible. While I appreciate having the concept of absorbing the art from an initial impression, it was somewhat frustrating to be in line significantly longer than being in each room. Including having waited about 9 hours just to get tickets, i was starting to think that part of the philosophy of the art was to comment on just how much time we spend in waiting in a lifetime. But that's another story altogether. Nonetheless, This exhibit was one that I quite enjoyed and would probably wait once again if given the opportunity.  

My advice for my fellow readers would be to wear comfortable shoes, avoid bringing large bags and coats, and most of all, bring your patience. It will probably take a moment to process, but I truly believe the wait is rewarding.