New works will be on display for the first time. What can we expect to see? How are these works indicative of her present state of mind and what was she inspired by to create these pieces?
Since 2009, Kusama has been creating an epic cycle of paintings titled My Eternal Soul. This is what occupies her every day, and what began as a planned series of 100 paintings now numbers over 500. Life is the Heart of a Rainbow is one of several paintings from this series premiering in this exhibition. Accompanying these paintings are a group of vibrant new soft sculptures. Kusama doesn’t like to explain the meaning behind her works – she prefers that people experience them in their own way. As always, her works are inspired by a unique vision of the world, and are evident of an extraordinary creative drive that has propelled her for seven decades.
For more than five decades, she has crafted sculptural illusions of light and mirrors to replicate a sense of infinity. How will visitors to this exhibition be able to experience this? How immersive will the experience be?
This exhibition aims to focus on the immersive and expansive nature of Kusama’s practice. This ranges from her infinity net paintings, which fill the canvas with tiny swirls of paint that look like latticework, to her room-scale installations and mirror rooms. In each case, you are transported into a world that is deeply intimate as well as potentially boundless. We will be presenting several of Kusama’s iconic infinity mirror rooms, including Gleaming Lights of the Souls (2008). She has been creating these works since the 1965; she fills a small room with repeated objects that are then reflected to infinity using mirrors on each wall. They create a sense of endless space, and are a truly magical experience that make you feel as though you have become a part of Kusama’s personal universe.
Which work speaks to you personally, and why?
Narcissus Garden. It is one of the first Kusama installations I ever saw, at the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane in 2002. Narcissus Garden is a work she first made and presented “unofficially” in 1966 in the grounds of the Venice Biennale. It consists of 1,500 silver balls placed on the ground, which creates a stunning vision of repetition and reflection. She performed with the work by selling the balls to passers-by, which posed a challenge to the art world at the time. In recent years, it has been presented in many different locations, both outdoors and indoors, sometimes even on water. For this exhibition, we will be re-staging Narcissus Garden in a very significant room at the Gallery, the City Hall Chamber, where the silver balls will fill the floor and reflect their historic surroundings.