Saturday, June 10, 2017

'Life is the Heart of a Rainbow'

Went to the National Gallery Singapore to see Yayoi Kusama's 'Life is the Heart of a Rainbow'. Not that I'm a huge fan. Her penchant for dots on her quirky installations make me dizzy. The last time I saw her works in London, I actually felt a little queasy after. But curiosity won. Went for the preview because I wanted some quiet to view the works before the Opening Night gala. I'm probably heading back on another morning for a closer look.

Curated by National Gallery's Russell Storer and Adele Tan, along with Reuben Keehan of Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), the exhibition is headed to QAGOMA in Brisbane after the exhibition ends in Singapore on 3 September. It's a wonderfully well-curated exhibition, taking visitors through not just her sculptures of polka dots, but also letting us walk into her mirrored worlds, phallic symbols in soft sculptures (no photgraphy allowed for those three installations), and a section that touched on her naked performance art in the 1960s on Wall Street.

Yayoi Kusama still likes flowers (gerberas and tulips mainly it seems) and pumpkins, and polka dots. It shows us the artist's opinions and perceptions of the world through her avant garde art, which doesn't seem to have faded into irrelevance even after all these decades. They're so popular. Zipped through the polka dots and mirrors, obviously. They still make me feel disoriented and could possibly induce a headache. I like her 'Love Forever' (2004 - 2007) series because they're in black and white. Less jarring for me. They're done in silkscreen on canvas. Happy to see these pieces again and linger over each canvas.

There is one gallery filled with her newer works from 2009 onwards- 'My Eternal Soul'. She intends to complete 100 paintings, exceeded the initial target, and she's still going at it, hitting over 500 paintings already. She decides on the orientation of these paintings after she's done with each one. This exhibition features 24 large canvases. In this gallery also stands the mirrored peep room 'I Want to Love on the Festival Night' which has been specially created for this show. Yayoi Kusama is 88 years old and still creating art. It's glorious.

And this, is 'Life in the Heart of A Rainbow' (2017).
It's in the gallery of her newer works themed 'My Eternal Soul'.

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