Perspectives: Yayoi Kusama

The Sackler gallery inaugurated its five-year program of contemporary installations with two works by the renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama who has been described as having set the stage for Post-Minimalism and feminist art. Ranging from elegant minimalist works to surreal installations featuring upholstered fetishistic objects and light bulbs, Kusama’s work defies neat labeling. Her focus on repetition—the public expression of a lifetime of hysterically obsessive hallucinations—was highlighted at the Sackler in her Dots Obsession (1999), a buoyant installation composed of six giant white balloons that were covered with the artist’s signature red polka dots, which themselves appeared to proliferate as they spilled over onto the physical surface of the Pavilion. The balloons hovered playfully from the lofty Pavilion ceiling above a second work titled Infinity Mirrored Room Love Forever (1996), a hexagonal, mirrored box with an opening into a kaleidoscopic vision of balls and light.

Kusama’s installation created a powerful visual experience by dissolving the Pavilion’s surface into pattern and drawing the viewer into her seductive yet unsettling world.