I’ve been a fan of Yayoi Kusama’s for some time and fell in love with images and videos online of her ‘Infinity Mirrors’ installations. Her iconic room ‘All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins’ was particularly interesting and when I first heard that the exhibition was coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario, the image of that room immediately popped into my head. I was lucky enough to attend a preview of the exhibition and here’s how my visit went down.
When they say it’s an immersive experience, that’s the perfect description. Once you enter each room and the doors close behind you, you seem to get transferred to another visual and mental dimension. Here’s the room by room breakdown (Slight spoiler alert: if you’re attending the exhibit but being there is far better than photos).
This was the first room I visited at the exhibit and it was really BRIGHT!!! My mind was instantly blown (and my heart grew 3 sizes that day) – all expectations were instantly exceeded. The white cotton ‘tentacles’ with red spots duplicate and appear to go forever.
Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity
This room represented death and the afterlife. When you enter the room, it’s pitch black and flickering golden lights slowly begin to illuminate. A complete empty darkness becomes twinkling beauty. Breathtaking.
This is not a room, but more of peephole into a strobing, flashing other world. Lots of colours blinking and strobing like you might see in Vegas or an arcade.
All The Eternal Love I Have For Pumpkins
This was the installation that I was most looking forward to, and ironically, I was the least impressed by this one. Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty amazing, but the other rooms just edged this one out. Maybe the fact that you weren’t allowed to take any pictures in this room and one of the AGO employees had to be in the room with you, was a bit of buzzkill. That completely changed the experience for this particular room.
Dots Obsession – Love Transformed Into Dots
How can you not like enormous illuminated pink orbs with black dots? The entire room is filled with these balloons, and you can peek into one of them at ground level and see a mirrored pink infinity.
The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away
I thought my mind had already blown completely at this point in walking through the exhibition, but I still had some room for it to further explode. This room is a gorgeous, dimming, flashing masterpiece. It’s so colourful and you felt like you were floating in space (insert Spiritualized ear worm here) in a field of stars…I could have stood in here for hours but there was a time limit to all rooms – dammit! This, by far, was may favourite room.
I walked into the Obliteration Room, which at this point was lightly obliterated. They hand you a sheet of coloured round sticker of various sizes, and you’re asked to stick them anywhere in the room before you leave. You must to give your empty sheet to someone on the way out (maybe they wouldn’t let you leave without sticking them or they were just trying to keep people from throwing their garbage all over). I would love to have the chance to go back near the end of the exhibition to take a picture so I can pop a side by side comparison, but for now, you can see my early obliteration shots.
Beyond the rooms, the exhibit also includes smaller scale sculptures and artwork such as the yellow and black tentacles of ‘Life (Repetitive Vision)’ or her colourful recent paintings and sculptures. Here’s a few of them to give you a little nibble.
If you’re thinking holy shit, I have to check out this exhibition, here’s what you need to know to get tickets.
Where is it happening?
- Tickets will be available for sale online only.
- The next block of tickets goes on sale starting March 6 at 10 am.
- The next Members’ booking window starts on March 20 at 10 am.
- Please anticipate long wait times to book tickets.
- There is a maximum of two (2) tickets per transaction. Children ages 5 and under also require a ticket.
- There will be a VERY limited number of same-day timed tickets available on-site, but they are expected to sell quickly. There are no refunds or exchanges of tickets for this exhibition.
- The rooms only fit 2 – 3 people, so you’ll have to wait a while to get into each room, so mornings and weekdays are generally less crowded. Weekends and evenings tend to be busy and getting tickets on these days may be more difficult. Get ready to chat with your friends or others waiting in line to pass the time – up your social skills.
- Don’t forget your phone or camera – you’ll need it to take loads of pictures. Trust me, it’s that cool an experience.
- The exhibit is across two floors, so don’t miss a floor and leave without seeing everything.
- Bring extra money for the gift shop. The merch is really cool and you’ll want to buy something. It’s all black or red – swoon.
For more information about Yahoo Kusama, visit ago.ca/exhibitions/kusama#about-kusama.