Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors at The Broad

Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” was a comprehensive look at the artists most important works from her over-half-a-decade career. From her psychedelic mirror rooms to her lesser-known works on paper, the full-force and sheer talent of the prolific Japanese artist is on display. The works are organized by subject matter and medium and follow a roughly chronological time-line from Kusama’s early drawings as a teenager on her family’s plant nursery, then her very first mirrored rooms, phallic sculptures, infinity net paintings, and her pumpkin sculptures and later paintings and sculptures. The exhibition is a monumental look at one of the most influential female artists, and artists in general, of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Belonging to a number of artistic movements, from minimalism to 60s pop, Kusama produced pivotal works every decade that she worked and contributed tremendously to each movement. The works which stood out to me the most were her Infinity Net paintings and her 1965 Phalli’s Field mirror room. The dot motif is consistent throughout the exhibition, but in these two works its significance is the most apparent and powerful. Kusama explains the origins of the dot saying “Since my childhood, I have always made works with polka dots. Earth, moon, sun and human beings all represent dots; a single particle among billions.” This notion of everything as dots and how it is all connected is ever apparent in her Infinity Net paintings where the repetitious black dots of paint are simultaneously separate but also held in tension together to create one large net. Similarly, in the Phalli’s Field mirror room the dotted phalli’s are repeated to infinity by the surrounding mirrors to create a vast field of connected yet independent particles.

Recognizing an incredible and prolific artist, the Infinity Mirror exhibition was highly educational, inspiring, and compelling, not just because of the fantastic art on view, but also the story of the artist whose story is one of perseverance and extraordinary vision.

White Infinity Nets

Kusama, “Phalli’s Field” ca. 1965

 

Kusama, “Obliteration Room”

For more reading about Yayoi Kusama and the exhibit at The Broad please click these links:

https://www.thebroad.org/art/special-exhibitions/yayoi-kusama-infinity-mirrors

https://hirshhorn.si.edu/kusama/yayoi-kusama/

https://www.artsy.net/artist/yayoi-kusama

 

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