Home Magazine The world's most successful living artist: Yayoi Kusama and her Infinity Mirror Rooms

Yayoi Kusama is known worldwide for her art and installations. She transformed her hallucinations into art, creating a hypnotic sensation for the viewer. While, her Infinity Mirror Rooms allow the visitors to interact with infinite images of themselves that they could contemplate from multiple perspectives.

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One of the most important and influential representatives of contemporary art in Japan and in the world is Yayoi Kusama. She describes herself as an “obsessional artist”, known worldwide for her considerable use of polka dots and awe-inspiring infinity installations, called “Infinity Mirror Rooms”.Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist, who began painting at an early age, in particular when she started to experiencing hallucinations of dots, which represent her trademark. However, in 1957, she decided to move to the United States, where she settled in New York City, becoming quickly popular for her performance artworks. In 1958, she exhibited her first “Infinity Nets” paintings, consisted of thousands of tiny marks obsessively repeated, which gave the perception to continue into infinity, creating a hypnotic sensation.In New York, she became a central figure, anticipating Minimalism and transitioning to Pop art and performance art, beginning to exhibit her sculptures and installations art. Her application to several different style shows her versatility and ability to use many different techniques. In fact, another Kusama’s peculiarity is her creation of “Infinity Mirror Rooms”, whose reference are those of the natural world and its formidable and infinite architectures. Mirrors gave the opportunity to create infinite planes, allowing the viewer to be immersed in this game of lights and kaleidoscopic effects, offered by the presence of mirrored surfaces. Thanks to these architectures, Kusama makes the viewer part of the work.Initially, her infinity rooms were an extension of the repetitive motifs present in her earlier paintings, transformed into a perceptual experience, such as “Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field” (1965). Thanks to this installation, Kusama’s infinity room pioneered the concept of art as an immersive medium, because she wanted to add an element of interactivity and connectivity in her works, transcending physical limitations.

 

Yayoy Kusama. Infinity Mirror Room. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Along her career, Kusama produced more than twenty distinct Infinity Mirror Rooms, all marked by an illusion of infinite space. Furthermore, these installations provide the opportunity to examine certain themes, which are central to Kusama, such as the celebration of life and its aftermath, transporting the viewer to Kusama’s unique vision of endless reflections.

Afterward, she started to explore the digital art resources, such as in “The Gleaming lights of the Souls” (2008), where the observer is inside an optical box, inside a room entirely covered with mirrors, in which LED lights generated intermittent illumination from the ceiling.Another great and astonishing installation, is “Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life” (2011), where the visitors could pass on a walkway made of mirrored tiles. Additionally, the floor surrounding the walkway was covered by a shallow pool of water and from the ceiling there were hundreds of small, round LED lights, which lighted up the room on a timed programme.What is interesting to highlight is that Kusama’s large-scale environments combine her obsession for repetition, her hallucinatory motif and the infinity of the space, breaking down the boundaries between the object and the subject. In fact, she underlined the importance of the role of the viewer in her installations, because he or she continually experiences the work in a new way.

Cover image: Yayoy Kusama. Infinity Mirror Room. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Written by Kooness

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