Yayoi Kusama Brings the Cosmos to You With I Who Have Arrived In Heaven New York Exhibit


Work is never over for famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and despite being 84, she never seems to rest and always has some type of exhibit on display. Last year she had two at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and now she has one at David Zwirner, entitled I Who Have Arrived In Heaven. Considering she's been producing interesting and thought-provoking art for more than three decades now, it's pretty impressive that she's showing no sign of slowing down.

Ending on December 21, the show spans the gallery's three locations on West 19th Street in New York, featuring 27 brand new large paintings, a recent video installation and two mirrored infinity rooms (one of which was made for this presentation specifically). According to the gallery, the exhibit is meant to showcase Kusama's passion for cosmic realms and how it resonates with "the autobiographical elements that runs through her oeuvre."

While the colorful paintings are certainly neat, featuring a range of images, from basic life forms to biomorphic shapes given human elements (like faces), it's the two infinity rooms I'm most interested in experiencing for myself. One of which, The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, will remind you of her light installation Fireflies On The Water from the Whitney Museum exhibit last year. According to the New York Times, on a typical day this little box of cosmic intervention is visited by around 2,500 people, each waiting patiently in line for their turn.

The cube-shaped room is paneled in mirrors and has a shallow reflecting pool as the floor. Hundreds of multicolored LED lights have been suspended from the ceilings at varying heights to create a seemingly endless depth through the mirrored reflection. The lights flicker on and off, meant to give invoke concepts of life and death. Judging by the photos, the immersive experience will probably be the closest many of us will ever get to deep space and hopefully stepping inside brings you complete and utter silence.

The second infinity room is called Love Is Calling, and seems like the complete opposite of The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away. An explosion of color, this immersive room is a kaleidoscope of inflatable, tentacle forms that are covered in Kusama's trademark polka dots. The tentacles gradually change colors while a continuous recording of Kusama reading a love poem in Japanese is played over hidden speakers. Though this was shown earlier in the year in Tokyo, this is the first time this mirrored room has been seen in America.

Considering the lines for the infinity rooms (there's no wait to see the paintings), you may want to set aside a pretty big block of time to check Yayoi Kusama's exhibit out, but hurry up because it ends on Saturday!