Yayoi Kusama’s Otherworldly Exhibit Mystifies at Newfields

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At long last Indianapolis has been given a glimpse into the wondrous universe that is Yayoi Kusama’s imagination. “Infinitely Kusama”, on display at Newfields until March 29, 2020, offers visitors a small taste of the Japanese artist’s iconic avant-garde installations. 

Photo taken by Zenobia Weigel

The installation packs a punch with its illuminated forms and mirrored walls, despite only two visitors being allowed to enter for 45 seconds at a time. Kusama works in all types of artistic mediums from sculpture, to paintings, and in the event of one of her mirrored pieces, a whole room. 

The 90-year-old artist grew up in a small town called Matsumoto City, where she draws much of her inspiration from and began her love affair with polka dots from a very young age. When she achieved her dream of going to New York City, that’s where she began creating mirrored rooms in the mid-1960s. 

Her style is a fusion of the time, embracing minimalism and pop art elements. Her work is bold, colorful, and kaleidoscopic… almost like a cosmic hallucination that ensnares the senses.

Upon entering the gallery hosting the Infinity Room, all there appears to be is a small white cube in the center of the room. Once you enter it, you’re dazzled by brightly lit pumpkins which seem to be “infinite” from the mirrored reflections on every surface. If you look above, the ceilings emphasize the bright pumpkins and you appear to float in a sea of color and darkness.

This piece feels like being on another planet, in another dimension, where everything is immensely beautiful and surreal. It’s an experience that is a reflection of the nonagenarian herself: enigmatic, peculiar, and whimsical. The repetition in her work is almost compulsive, yet precise, and that is something to be said about Kusama.

Kusama’s work is more than worthy of your time, with student discounts getting you free memberships or regular admission being $18. The only minor complaint would be that, due to the artist’s popularity and Instagram, you’re constrained as a viewer by the time limitations within the exhibit. Luckily, if it’s a slower day at the museum, all you have to do is a loop back around if you need to take more of it in.

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