Spanning over five decades, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors focuses on the evolution of the Japanese artist’s immersive, multi-reflective Infinity Mirror Rooms. Central to the exhibition is Kusama’s original 1965 mirror room, in which she displayed a vast expanse of red-spotted, white tubers in a room lined with mirrors, creating the illusion of an infinite space, a surreal landscape in which the viewer is situated at the center. The exhibition explores how Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms developed from a more material engagement with sculptural forms to ethereal mirror rooms in which light and reflections extend in all directions, allowing the visitor to seemingly float in a magical space.
While the Infinity Mirror Rooms form the core of the exhibition, the drawings and paintings, created across her career, will demonstrate the evolution of Kusama’s ideas and their resonance with contemporary artistic ventures. Kusama showed with the German Zero group in the early 1960s, which had an interest in kinetic and participatory installations. These projects, as much as her encounter with happenings in New York, the city where Kusama took up residence in the late 1950s, informed her subsequent artistic development. In addition to the Infinity Mirror Rooms, there will also be a gallery that viewers will create and complete with their participation and a “landscape” of mirrored stainless steel spheres that reflect the people in the room. Two early videos are also included in this exhibition.
By examining the early, destabilizing installations alongside the more ethereal mirror rooms she created later in her career, the show hopes to place this body of work in relation to a resurgence of experiential practices in contemporary art.
Following its debut at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the exhibition will travel to four major museums in the United States and Canada, including the Seattle Art Museum (June 30–September 10, 2017), The Broad in Los Angeles (October 2017–January 2018), the Art Gallery of Ontario (March–May 2018), and the Cleveland Museum of Art (July–October 2018).
Image: Installation view of Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field, 1965, Yayoi Kusama, Japanese, b. 1929, in Floor Show, Castellane Gallery, New York, 1965, sewn stuffed cotton fabric, board, and mirrors, Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore; Victoria Miro, London; David Zwirner, New York, © Yayoi Kusama, Photo: Eikoh Hosoe.