Inside Yayoi Kusama’s Wonderland

London’s latest summer crush has been one wrapped in polka dots. The midsummer season saw Victoria Miro Gallery take on conceptualist heavyweight and Pop Art forerunner, Yayoi Kusama.

Working and exhibiting since her move to America in 1957, Kusama has become a mythos of kaleidoscopic repetition throughout the world. Her engaging exhibitions have toured from Australasia to Asia, to Europe and beyond, and has allowed for her to become a common household name. This May Kusama’s renowned polka dot pumpkins made a home for themselves on Wharf Road, in Victoria Miro’s East-London location.

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Hosting three mirror rooms, the gallery received tens of thousands of visitors over Kusama’s two-month display. With queues twisting around and between each installation, it was hard to see the gallery as a ‘traditional’ space but more a theme park or adventureland with groups of visitors queuing for their daily fix of titillation. Due to the exhibition’s high demand, guest’s time in each mirror room was restricted to one minute; a hard feat when attempting to fully experience and appreciate the art, as one might in the National Gallery for instance. Nonetheless, the infinity rooms were hypnotizing and powerful, and no doubt placed individuals imaginatively inside the dotty world of Yayoi Kusama.

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The artist’s lifelong obsession with pattern makes for a chromatic wonderland of sorts. And while our culture grows more and more dependent on technology and the omnipresence of the iPhone, it is Kusama’s enchanting infinity rooms that attract those Snapchat selfie-lovers. No longer an art-type for niche audiences, Kusama has opened more doors than ever to conceptual art and how it is engaged with or experienced in popular culture.

Yayoi Kusama: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins & Chandelier of Grief was on display at Victoria Miro, Wharf Road from May to July this year. The exhibition received over 68,000 visitors, many of which queued for up to three hours to catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing mirror rooms. If you missed her infinity mirrors in the UK, Los Angeles’ Broad Museum will be hosting six of Kusama’s immersive installations in Autumn 2017.

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