Entry to the forthcoming major exhibition of new work by Yayoi Kusama will be by free timed ticket and must be booked in advance online. Tickets were released at 9am on Monday 24 September via victoria-miro.com.
Taking place across its Wharf Road galleries and waterside garden, THE MOVING MOMENT WHEN I WENT TO THE UNIVERSE will feature new paintings, including works from the iconic My Eternal Soul series, painted bronze pumpkin and flower sculptures, and a large-scale Infinity Mirror Room. Throughout her career, Yayoi Kusama has developed a unique and diverse body of work that, highly personal in nature, connects profoundly with global audiences. Continuing to address the twin themes of cosmic infinity and personal obsession, the new works in this exhibition are testament to an artist at the height of her powers as she approaches her 90th birthday.
Paintings from the artist’s celebrated, ongoing My Eternal Soul series will be on view at Gallery II, Wharf Road. Joyfully improvisatory, fluid and highly instinctual, the My Eternal Soul paintings abound with imagery including eyes, faces in profile, and other more indeterminate forms, including the dots for which the artist is synonymous, to offer impressions of worlds at once microscopic and macroscopic.
The pumpkin form has been a recurring motif in Kusama’s art since the late 1940s and integrates many key aspects of Kusama’s practice: the repeating pattern of dots, connotations of growth and fertility and a palette of singular vibrancy. The artist’s family cultivated plant seeds in Matsumoto, and she was familiar with the kabocha squash in the fields that surrounded her childhood home. It was in early childhood that Kusama also began to experience the terrifying hallucinations that left her ‘dazzled and dumbfounded’ by repeating patterns that engulfed her field of vision, a process she referred to as ‘self-obliteration’. Works on display include new bronze pumpkin sculptures and paintings in a vibrant palette of red, yellow and green, adorned with tapering patterns of black dots that create a sophisticated geometry. Pulsating with energy, each work carries its own distinct mood and character.
Like pumpkins, flowers have long been an important part of Kusama’s art. Sharing the artist’s distinctive bold palette, large-scale, painted bronze flower sculptures will be exhibited outside in the gallery’s waterside garden where, characteristically, they straddle a line between nature and exuberant artifice. At once simplified and fantastical, these forms, their surfaces covered with polka-dotted planes of vivid colour, are designed to be viewed from multiple angles, encouraging audiences to move around them.
The exhibition marks the debut of INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – MY HEART IS DANCING INTO THE UNIVERSE which will envelop visitors inside a large mirrored room with paper lanterns covered with polka dot patterns, which are suspended from the ceiling. Conveying the illusion of being unmoored in endless space, this large-scale work is the latest example of Kusama’s famed immersive environments. It offers a sense of infinity through the interplay of the rhythmic patterns of colourful spots covering the black spherical lamps and the surrounding mirrors.
Yayoi Kusama: THE MOVING MOMENT WHEN I WENT TO THE UNIVERSE
3 October–21 December 2018
Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW
Kusama – Infinity
In cinemas and on demand from 5 October 2018
Premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, Kusama – Infinity is a feature-length documentary, directed by Heather Lenz, that explores Yayoi Kusama’s career, from her conservative upbringing in rural Japan, to the years she spent in New York from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, where she became a vital part of the city’s avant-garde art scene and first showed her white Infinity Nets to critical acclaim, to her return to her native country in 1973 and the later international recognition of her iconic work.
Hayward Gallery: Space Shifters
26 September 2018–6 January 2019
Kusama’s seminal installation Narcissus Garden will feature in the Hayward Gallery’s major autumn exhibition Space Shifters, a thematic exhibition of work by more than twenty leading international artists whose work alters or disrupts our sense of space and re-orients our understanding of our surroundings. Originating in 1966, when Kusama first participated in the Venice Biennale, Narcissus Garden comprises mirrored spheres displayed en masse to create a dynamic kinetic sculpture.