Sunday, 24 July 2016

Yayoi Kusama

There have been some really good exhibitions by women artists in London so far this year. We've had Hilma af Klint, and currently work can be seen by Etel Adnan, Georgiana Houghton and the mighty Georgia O'Keeffe. This exhibition however, one of two, across both sites of the Victoria Miro gallery, by Yayoi Kusama is another joyous addition to that list. I was so happy on visiting this show to see the return of her fabulous, gigantic, dotty, bronze pumpkins which I last encountered in 2014 (here). 

This latest exhibition of Kusama's work at Victoria Miro is very popular, so be prepared to queue if you make a visit. Most visitors seem to have come solely to visit the installation below - All The Eternal Love I Have For The Pumpkins (2016), which provides great imagery for their Instagram and social media feeds. It is a fantastic installation to be immersed in however, although it is also a victim of its own popularity as you are timed on entry to the installation, and only allowed a minute to enjoy it before being turfed out. It is arguably the most successful of the works in the show, and the combination of mirrors, dots, neon pumpkins and subdued lighting have a mildly disorientating effect on the viewer.

Chandelier of Grief (2016), below, is another intriguing installation where you are once again enclosed in a mirrored environment and subjected to the dazzling illusion of infinity and lighting effects.

In the outside garden space at Victoria Miro, is Kusama's Narcissus Garden (1966), an impressive installation of stainless steel spheres in the pond.

Sadly in my opinion the Kusama paintings in Gallery II of the space come as a bit of an anti-climax after the drama of the above installations. The three Infinity-Nets paintings below really struck me though, because of the combination of colour, surface textures and mark-making

I really recommend a visit to this exhibition, (but again be prepared to queue as it is that popular), and I hope to make the accompanying second exhibition of Kusama's paintings at Victoria Miro Mayfair before that closes later this week.

Yayoi Kusama
until 30th July 2016
Victoria Miro Gallery
16 Wharf Road N1
14 St George Street W1