A career-spanning survey of work by leading contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama opens at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) from Saturday 4 November until 11 February 2018. ‘Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow’ profiles the significant contribution of this much-loved contemporary artist. QAGOMA has enjoyed a long standing relationship with Kusama – dating back to 1989 – and over that time the Gallery has developed substantial holdings of the artist’s work.
‘Life is the Heart of a Rainbow’ is presented in five thematic chapters and explores recurring motifs in the 88-year-old artist’s oeuvre. Delve into Kusama’s world with its seamless integration of Pop, Surrealism, Minimalism and psychedelia, using her trademark motifs of nets, dots, eyes and pumpkins, and a vocabulary of obsession, obliteration, accumulation, aggregation and infinity.
The free exhibition includes early painterly experiments, soft-sculpture and assemblage, performance documents, iconic ‘infinity rooms’ as well as large-scale installations including the eye-catching, polka-dotted inflatables. Figuring prominently are the ‘net’ paintings that have appeared consistently in Kusama’s practice since the late 1950s; and 24 brightly coloured paintings from the My Eternal Soul series which has been ongoing since 2009.
Other highlights include I WANT TO LOVE ON THE FESTIVAL NIGHT 2015, an immersive hexagonal installation with external and internal mirrors and a floor of multi-coloured flashing lights and THE SPIRIT OF THE PUMPKINS DESCENDED TO THE HEAVENS 2017, a mirrored cube installation visitors can peer into where the internal reflections create the impression of a vast field of luminous gourds.
Also included are major artworks acquired by QAGOMA since 2002 – the infinity mirror room Soul under the moon 2002, the large sculpture Flowers that bloom at midnight 2011 and The obliteration room 2002-ongoing, an interactive installation that has toured to more than 20 venues in 15 countries and been viewed by more than 5 million people.
Tickets are on sale now for Summer Up Late, from 5.30pm-10.00pm on Friday 19 January 2018. Surrounded by GOMA’s summer exhibitions – Summer Up Late will feature DJs, talks, bars, and live music from acclaimed Michigan-born, Berlin-based electronic producer and performer Laurel Halo, and independent Sydney-based producer and songwriter Lupa J. Summer Up Late tickets include exhibition entry to ‘Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images’ and ‘Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow’.
‘Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow’ has been co-curated by Reuben Keehan, Curator, Contemporary Asian Art, QAGOMA; Russell Storer, Deputy Director (Curatorial and Collections), National Gallery Singapore; and Adele Tan, Curator, National Gallery Singapore. Funding for insurance for the exhibition has been provided through the Queensland Government Exhibition Indemnification Scheme.
Feature image detail: Yayoi Kusama’s THE SPIRITS OF THE PUMPKINS DESCENDED INTO THE HEAVENS 2015