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Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” at the Seattle Art Museum

Kusama dots our eyes.

The Seattle Art Museum is hosting Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors, celebrating the works of the artist’s 65-year career.

Since its opening in May, Infinity Mirrors has been difficult for the public to gain access to, due to the high demand of entrance tickets. If you’re not a museum member, the only way to get tickets is to camp out in line—some people arrive as early as 4 a.m.—since advanced tickets sold out nearly as soon as it opened.

The exhibition illustrates Kusama’s artistic development, spanning from the 1950s to the present. Her early work was influenced by her experiences growing up in Japan during World War II, resulting in dark, abstract themes.

She was first inspired to incorporate mirrors as a medium in 1965, giving her an infinite artistic pane. She was motivated to bring the mirrors in to play when she found that, as a human, she could not fulfill her artistic vision of a never-ending field of objects. The exhibit features five different infinity rooms, four of which you can enter.

The four fully-immersive rooms have completely different environments: large balloons, suspended LED lanterns, stuffed phallic objects, and huge pumpkins. The fifth room, which you cannot enter, is viewed through peep holes, emphasizing the voyeuristic nature of the viewer in to the life and mind of Yayoi Kusama.

The Obliteration Room
infinity mirrors
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum.

From a distance, the Obliteration Room (which is not an infinity room) looks like an all-white scene with paint splatters. However, upon entrance, you are handed a sheet of colored dot stickers and invited to stick them where you wish.

This idea of audience interactivity is ever-present in Kusama’s exhibit. The mirrors in the rooms not only make the planes appear infinite, but place the viewer in the art, something unavoidable, imperfect, and human.

Love Transformed into Dots
infinity mirrors
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum.
Phalli’s Field
infinity mirrors
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum.
Aftermath of Obliteration and Eternity
infinity mirrors
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum.
All the Eternal Love I Have for Pumpkins
infinity mirrors
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum.
Love Forever
infinity mirrors
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum.
Girl Power

infinity mirrors

In 1955, Kusama met with Georgia O’Keeffe, who advised her on ways to further her art career in the U.S. This friendship led to Kusama’s first solo exhibition in the U.S. at the now-defunct Zoë Dusanne Gallery in Seattle, Washington in 1957.

Kusama also channeled her power as the artist of the Infinity Rooms by limiting a viewer’s time in each room to 20-30 seconds. By regulating the viewer’s consumption time, she employs time as a medium, as well.

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Also published on Medium.

Journalism/Editorial Intern for Metiza. University of Oregon graduate...