“I’m just another dot in the world”
— Yayoi Kusama
From now until 11 February 2018, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) showcase the artwork of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Among them, the mirror room and the obliteration room are two of her most famous masterpieces.
Yayoi was born in Japan into an affluent family and she developed an interest for art at a young age. However, she didn’t get along well with her parents and refused for her life goal to be marrying a rich man. Being diagnosed as mentally unstable, her doctor suggested her to go to New York where she worked long hours and made her name well-known in the art world. Due to illness, she eventually returned Tokyo, Japan and chose to live in a mental institution and kept working in a studio nearby until this day.
It wasn’t until I got home from seeing the exhibition with friends that I started doing a little bit research about this artist. Before then, I only knew that Yayoi was a contemporary artist incorporating polka dots into her work.
- The Mirror Room
If you ask me to use one word to summarize my experience with the mirror room, I would say “infinity”. While polka dots were an important element in most of her artwork, she took it to the next level in the mirror room where you were immersed into darkness and infinite life and feel a sense of happiness as well as smallness in the endless space.
The following is another mirror room where you see it as an observer through a hole. The lights change and all you see is infinity.
- The Obliteration Room
This is an interactive project of Yayoi where the whole room was completely white at the beginning. Visitors were handed a sheet of stickers and they can go in and put it anywhere they want.
By the time I visited the exhibition, the room has already transformed from the minimalist style into an explosion of color, with thousands of stickers over pretty much every available surface.
The process is fun for me as a participant who has little art background. But now looking back, I can related to what Yayoi said:”I’m just another dot”. The stickers that I put on might eventually be covered by others. I’m colorful yet so small in this big world.
Even though I’m not a huge art fan, learning Yayoi’s story of how her conquered mental illness, made a mark in a foreign country by hard work and stayed creative at an old age made me feel really touched.
Not only did I see a sense of struggle, explosion and perseverance, I also admire Yayoi as a person who never give up and is brave enough to pursue her own dreams in spite of all the hardship!