In conjunction with the Tate Modern in London (aka: my favorite museum in the world), New York’s Whitney Museum is currently exhibiting Yayoi Kusama’s ethereal installation piece, Fireflies on the Water (2002).
“Yayoi Kusama’s depictions of seemingly endless space have been a central focus of her artistic career. Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water (2002)—with its carefully constructed environment of lights, mirrors, and water—is one of the outstanding examples of this kind of installation, which creates a space in which individual viewers are invited to transcend their sense of self.”
From the Whitney Museum’s site:
“This installation consists of a small dark room lined with mirrors on all sides, a pool in the center of the space, and many small lights hanging from the ceiling, creating visual effects that may be disorienting to some viewers. To experience the work, visitors must pass through a 30-inch-wide doorway and travel over a 30-inch-wide platform with no edge protection.”
Evidently the museum will be uploading a video tour of the exhibition soon so those of us not currently in New York will still be able to experience Fireflies from the comfort of our couches. However, if you’re in or around the Big Apple, you can explore Kusama’s other works in addition to Fireflies between now and September 30th.
From the exhibition page:
“Well known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, Yayoi Kusama works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance, and immersive installation.”
She’s like a crazy Japanese combo of Cindy Sherman and Vivienne Westwood!
From Bomb Magazine (1999):
“Acknowledged as a progenitor of Minimalism, Kusama made headlines for street performances in which she painted polka dots on nude men and women. But Kusama was largely forgotten by the art world after she returned to Japan in 1973, suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was committed to a mental institution, where she remains to this day.”
My art originates from hallucinations only I can see. I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings. All my works in pastels are the products of obsessional neurosis and are therefore inextricably connected to my disease. - Yayoi Kusama