The psychedelic work of Yayoi Kusama

Updated 16th October 2017
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The psychedelic work of Yayoi Kusama
Written by Angelica Pursley, CNNLondon
Visit Victoria Miro Gallery in London from now until the end of July and you may find yourself in an endless field of glowing yellow, polka-dotted pumpkins. This arresting experience is part of a major new exhibition from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.
Spanning the gallery's three London locations, this is the largest exhibition of the artist's work to come to Britain since her retrospective at Tate Modern in 2012 -- containing new paintings (from both her ongoing My Eternal Soul and Infinity Nets series), pumpkin sculptures and three immersive mirror rooms.
The first "Chandelier Of Grief" -- is a white hexagonal box from the outside, minimal and dwarfing. As the door slides open you are confronted by a mirrored space with a spinning, flickering chandelier in the middle. This is thought to be one of her most fantastical and baroque creations.
"All the Eternal Love I Have For The Pumpkins" is the first mirror pumpkin room the artist has created since 1991. Pumpkins -- additionally seen in this exhibition as bronze sculptures -- are a recurring motif in her work, relating back to her childhood. She claims to be enchanted by their "charming and winsome" forms.
In the garden a stainless steel room punctured with small holes contains "Where The Lights in My Heart Go". Creating a sense of disorientation, the artist refers to it as a "subtle planetarium".
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016 Credit: Courtesy KUSAMA Enterprise, Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore and Victoria Miro, London© Yayoi Kusama
It is her ability to create hallucinatory landscapes, along with her signature use of repetition and polka dots, that have arguably made Kusama one of the world's most popular and influential artists. It helps that many of the pieces tend to inspire a slew of selfies.
At 87, it seems she has lost none of her impact. Her multi-disciplinary work -- spanning painting, sculpture, collage, installation and performance art -- has continued to avoid classification, showing attributes of feminist and pop art, minimalism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.
The only visual artist to make it on to TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People, her exhibitions continue to draw record-breaking attendance, with major retrospectives of her work having been held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern.
The surreal and psychedelic aesthetic has also caught the imagination of popular culture, sparking crossovers with fashion and product design -- most famously a Kusama-inspired Louis Vuitton womenswear collection in 2012.
As well as its popularity what unifies the work are its themes. These new works reflect her lifelong preoccupation with the infinite and sublime, as well as themes of cosmic infinity and personal obsession.