Portrait of Yayoi Kusama. Photograph: Noriko Takasugi
Portrait of Yayoi Kusama. Photograph: Noriko Takasugi

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama reflects on the cosmos and something beyond the physical in an exhibition of new work at Victoria Miro galleries.

After negotiating a snaking queue to get in, I was met by a spectacular display of sculptures, paintings and installations – including mirrored rooms and pumpkins galore.

“Pumpkins have been a great comfort to me since my childhood,” the artist explains. “They speak to me of the joy of living.

“They are humble and amusing at the same time, and I have and always will celebrate them in my art.”

This collection of mirrored environments, sculptures and paintings reproduces some of the intense mental states the artist has encountered since childhood.

Pumpkin Yayoi Kusama
Mirrored, polished bronze pumpkin by Yayoi Kusama

Kusama gets you to see infinity in a pumpkin. The new installation All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins is a room full of mirrors populated by florescent yellow plastic pumpkins. When the viewer steps inside, their reflection makes them repeat into eternity.

Pumpkin Mirror Polished Bronze is a sculpture that has all the sheen and polish of a Harley Davidson, with a complement of matt polka dots. These dots, a hallmark of her work, are an utterly democratic unit of expression, something anybody could create themselves.

Another mirrored room, Chandelier of Grief, is centred on a chandelier rotating in the centre of a hexagon. Looking up is like viewing a constellation of stars or cherry blossoms.

As those queuing are ushered in, most were armed with their mobiles. Kusama’s work lends itself to shared experiences – as opposed to the feeling that someone else has intruded into your own personal experience.

All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama
All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins. Installation by Yayoi Kusama

Inside the mirrored rooms, one senses a shift from the personal, individual experience inside an expansive sublime plane, to what is ultimately a communal experience.

The queuing and the amount of time one is given inside the mirror rooms (I was allotted less than three minutes!) impresses upon you the fact of this shared experience, providing a heightening of the senses as you try to grasp as much of an impression as you can.

Yayoi Kusama: Sculptures, Paintings and Mirror Rooms
Until 30 July
Victoria Miro, 16 Wharf Road, N1 7RW

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