Victoria Miro is delighted to present a major new exhibition by Yayoi Kusama. Spanning the gallery’s three locations and waterside garden, the exhibition features new paintings – including her important, ongoing My Eternal Soul series and signature Infinity Nets – iconic pumpkin sculptures, and immersive mirror rooms, all conceived specially for this presentation.
These new works reflect her lifelong preoccupation with the infinite and sublime, as well as the twin themes of cosmic infinity and personal obsession, as found in pattern and repetition.
Distilled within her paintings are the themes and obsessions that characterise Kusama’s art. On show at Victoria Miro Mayfair, examples from her ongoingMy Eternal Soul series encapsulate a surreal and humorous, as well as instinctual, approach to art making. Each painting abounds with imagery including eyes, faces in profile and other more indeterminate forms recalling cell structures, often in pulsating combinations of colour. Some appear psychedelically primordial: TALKS OF A FLOWER GARDEN floats fringed biomorphs with jewel-like nuclei suspended in shades of sky blue against a fiery expanse of orange. Composing lines, marks and dots in sedimentary-like layers, other examples, such as MY HEART’S ABODE and MY ETERNAL LIFE, bring to mind ancient landscapes and grand geological patterns.
It is with characteristic dynamism that the My Eternal Soul series has grown far in excess of the hundred works originally conceived by Kusama. Each spontaneous work pulses with a sense of the artist’s hand pushing ever onwards in its desire to recreate afresh. Yet there are nonetheless intimations of death and a preoccupation with mortality in these paintings, in titles such as I WILL STILL GO ON LIVING, SHEDDING TEARS TO THE SEASON and DYING PEOPLE, and in the affecting FACE OF YOUTH in which profiles and other fragmentary faces are depicted on shard-like areas of colour like precious relics.
Among the most existential of the new paintings, LIGHTS OF THE HEART contains at its centre a bright white square. A sense of enlightenment, solitude and nothingness, as well as flux and disorientation can be witnessed in these works. This is Kusama, a pioneer in her command of a variety of media, at her most personal and direct, relying on brush, paint and canvas alone. They reveal an artist overflowing with ideas and undiminished in her desire to depict the apparently contradictory, unpredictable and undepictable, well into her ninth decade.
Yayoi Kusama is currently the subject of a museum tour throughout Northern Europe, from Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, (2015-2016) to Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo (2016); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016) and Helsinki Art Museum (2016-2017). Recent survey exhibitions include Infinite Obsession, 2013-2015, which was seen by over two million people during its two-year tour in South America; A Dream I Dreamed and Eternity of Eternal Eternity which travelled to institutions across Asia from 2013-2015 and 2012-2014, respectively. Yayoi Kusama, a major retrospective, was presented from 2011 to 2012 at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Kusama represented Japan at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993.
Press release courtesy Victoria Miro.