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Yayoi Kusama review

  • Art
  • 3 out of 5 stars
Courtesy Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai and Victoria Miro, London/Venice. © YAYOI KUSAMA

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

At this point, no one really needs another Yayoi Kusama review. Her art is so distinctive, so clearly defined, so ubiquitous and so over-written about that no one really has anything to add that’s going to change your mind. She’s the world’s biggest art superstar. If you like her pumpkins and mirrors shtick, you’re going to like this show. If you don’t, you won’t. Easy. See ya later, I’m off to collect my pay cheque.

But let’s pretend for just one second that I’m not entirely pointless and go through the rigmarole anyway, huh?

This gallery show has everything you want from a Kusama exhibition. It’s got a big infinity mirror room filled with colour-changing paper lanterns that will have your notifications popping off. It’s got giant pumpkins made of bronze, enormous psychedelic flower sculptures that look like Homebase on acid and a handful of big, bold, ultra-precise abstract dot canvases. It’s all lovely, if a bit car showroom-y.

But the really good bit is way upstairs. Tucked away in VM’s second gallery space is a series of huge canvases. Where the ones below are precise and super-neat, these are totally free, rough and rushed. The paint is all blobby and skew-whiff. There are faces and suns, tentacles and leaves. They feel truly and properly personal. You can picture Kusama hard at work, totally absorbed in her psychedelic aesthetic exercises. They feel real, like her opportunity to escape into colours and shapes and memories. Reduced down to a therapeutic attempt to grasp a difficult, confusing world, there’s actually something quite sad about them.

But, you know, whatever. Go take a selfie in the mirror room, that’s where the real Insta gold is.

Written by
Eddy Frankel


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