Yayoi Kusama in Singapore – be quick!
If you’re a fan of Yayoi Kusama or if you’re interested in familiarising yourself with her work and with the artist behind the famous polka dot art, then head of quickly to the National Gallery in Singapore. Yayoi Kusama is in Singapore, but hurry!
The extensive exhibition Yayoi Kusama – life is the heart of a rainbow ends in a week from now!
The queues are long, so come early
I went there twice, since the first time I was taken by surprise by the numerous and long queues. It really was not funny anymore and took away a lot of the pleasure of visiting this exhibit. I also simply did not have time enough -with all the lengthy queues- to see it all.
I decided to come back the next day and be at the ticket counter as soon as they opened, which is at 10 am. What a difference that was!
Still, the museum filled up pretty quickly, so my golden tip is: be there at 09.45 am. I guess weekdays are better too. I was there both times during the week, NOT in the weekend.
Bring a friend if you are keen on pictures
My second golden tip is to bring a friend who doesn’t mind taking pictures. Everything is so photogenic and being there alone often sucked, because selfies usually are not as good as pics taken by somebody else.
What I learned about Yayoi Kusama
To be honest, I did not know a whole lot about this artist.
I knew of her and was intrigued by her work since years.
Visiting this exhibition and reading up afterwards, I found out a lot, like:…
- I know that she enjoys world-fame nowadays, but I was not aware of the fact that there were decades between her first successes and her recent success, in which she seemed almost forgotten to the world,
- I know she is the best-selling and highest paid living female artist now, but little did I know that -while she came from a wealthy family- she lived in poverty for years after she moved to the USA in the sixties, eating from garbage bins and all,
- I knew that she had mental problems and that her polka dots stem from childhood hallucinations, but I had no idea that she lives in a mental institution since 1977. That’s 40 years now!!!
- The bad marriage from her parents and her traumatic childhood gave her a life-long fear for sex and for the male organ, hence the many falussus in her art, as a way to deal with her fears.
- I had no idea that she was at Woodstock at the time, that she organised performances back then, with a lot of nudity, that she was popular with a certain crowd in the Netherlands, nor that she hung out with Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg and many other celebs.
- Self-obliteration is one of her themes, in particular disappearing by covering yourself up in the same pattern (polka-dots) as your environment. This way being absorbed by the universe, so to speak.
- She still works long hours (at 88 years old!) and is very productive. She has a studio across from the mental hospital and she goes there almost every day.
Yayoi Kusama clearly is a very complex, deeply troubled as well as enormously creative and talented person.
All I can say is: go see this exhibition: Yayoi Kusama – life is the heart of a rainbow
Let me take you by the hand through the pictures I took
Let’s have a closer look, shall we?
For this room was a queue and we had to keep moving. Not a relaxed way to enjoy art, I must say.
Inside the polka-dotted room with mirrors everywhere is a mirrored cube in the middle. You climb three steps and look through a peephole. Inside the cube you see a sea of pumpkins. At least, that’s what it looks like.
This room is one of Kusama’s many infinity installations, using mirrors to create the illusion of endlessness.
Infinity mirror cubes
Something similar is in another room. Surrounded by a series of Kusama’s art almost completely in whites, stands another cube.
It is lots of mirrors, projections and peepholes that do the trick here.
It’s really beautiful, a bit like those magical one-eyed lanterns of my childhood (forgot what they are called). If you turned them around while looking into them, you saw the patterns shift and shift. Oh wait, was it called a kaleidoscope or something?
Bold colours and shapes
Classic pillars surrounded by mirror balls
Four’s a crowd
Obliteration room, where stuff gets polka-dotted away into the universe