The National Art Center, Tokyo is currently running Yayoi Kusama’s latest exhibition, “My Eternal Soul.” The gallery has been open to the public from February 22nd to May 22nd in Roppongi. Having read about Yayoi Kusama during my IB Art days, I just knew I had to go see her latest Tokyo exhibit – and so off I was to delve myself into an evening full of pop art and abstract expressionism last Friday.
Yayoi Kusama, the queen of red polka dots, iconic pumpkin sculptures and immersive mirror rooms – all of which was beautifully amalgamated into this exhibition.
The exhibition is an amazing rendition of Kusama’s 70 years as an artist. It takes you through her entire career beginning with one of her earliest untitled sketch from 1939 when she was just 10. The exhibit is split into three significant time periods of Kusama’s life; Matsumoto (her hometown), New York and Tokyo.
The exhibition comprises of 132 never seen before art pieces out of which 500 paintings are what makes up Kusama’s Eternal Soul series, that she has been working on since 2009. Photography was prohibited in quite a number of rooms in the exhibit, however I unknowingly took a couple only later being told off by security – oops!
The main exhibit hall was where you could take all the pictures you’d like. All the walls were adorned by beautiful large paintings by Kusama. Dotted patterns were a recurring motif throughout all the paintings on the walls.
My favourite part of the exhibition was the “Obliteration Room” centered right outside the main entrance to the gallery. The installation is widely celebrated and comprises of an all-white interior room containing familiar household objects. As you enter the room, everyone is handed a set of stickers, each with different colored dots of varying sizes. As you walk around the room, you are asked to leave your mark using those stickers anywhere you would like – hence why you see circle stickies everywhere! The idea behind the “Obliteration Room” is to see how the room gradually changes as a result of human interaction, thus ultimately seeing a blur of colored dots amongst the unrecognizable white interior. There’s still a month left till the last day of this exhibition, I just wonder what this space will look like then!
Overall, I was pleasantly satisfied of having the chance to view Yayoi Kusama’s work in person. The vibrant hues and textures in her paintings, sculptures and installations has one captivated throughout the exhibit. You get to see nearly eight decades of Kusama’s art, all enclosed in one space – how much better does it get!