During a recent visit to Cleveland, news channels were filled with coverages on this special art exhibit happening at The Cleveland Museum of Art. Pulled in by the unusual shots taken in ‘infinity’ mirrored rooms and pieces of interesting trippy art dating back to the 1960’s, I quickly did some research to see if I could get a last-minute ticket to this exhibition. Instead of spoiling the experience by searching for all the images taken of the work by the famed artist, Yayoi Kusama, I read about her motive in creating this experience in order to get a better understanding of what I was about to endure. The Cleveland Museum of Art was correct when they explained it to be “An unforgettable sensory journey through the mind and legacy of one of the world’s most significant artists.”
Yayoi Kusama used her unique style of art to fulfill her obsessive-compulsive neurosis symptoms by creating illusions of infinity to give a sense of what experiencing life is and what the aftermath may be. Every piece you stand in or in front of has no direct sense of where the beginning or end is and it seems there is always a constant flow of movement. Her art is explained to be combinations of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop art, Feminism art, and Illusional Technique even though she insisted on calling herself an obsessional artist.
As you engage yourself through the exhibit you not only catch her artistic growth over time, but how her ability to expand her creativity based on the extraordinary events of that time. After moving to New York City in 1958 she quickly became part of the avant-garde movement alongside some major artist of that time including Andy Warhol. Here is where she expanded her work to sculptures, performances and her creations of the infinity rooms. The exhibit gives the opportunity to explore 7 of her rooms. All giving the illusion of infinite space.
Without giving too much away, when walking to the exhibit you are first greeted by a field of mirrored balls next to a box covered in mirrors on every side. As friends and couples took turns going inside this box I was able to get an idea of how this paranormal journey was about to begin. Yayoi Kusama, still alive to this day, said “The effect of infinite, constant repetition leads us to finding our ever-expanding hope.”
To highlight on some insights of the broad inspirations of her work, beginning with creating an illusion of a field full of phallic shaped hand sewn tubers in hopes to overcome her fear of sex, she used her art to share her own internal journey and interpretation of life. She was the mastermind of her own antiwar protest performances and even sent a letter to President Richard Nixon. Every room and piece of art she created was to send a message and clarify her perception of what existence and the endless ability of what the mind can create when outside of the box of what we call life. To sum it all up, her goal is to share the sense of awareness of one’s self in this universe and its infinite space and ability.
Enjoy your journey,
Domenica Rossi & Co-Written by Josh Leidolf