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One of Yayoi Kusama's infinity rooms will be a permanent fixture at the NGA

Written by
Ben Neutze

From December this year, there'll be yellow pumpkins for as far as the eye can see in the heart of Canberra. That's because the National Gallery of Australia has acquired one of 89-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's instafamous infinity rooms, which will be on permanent display.

Australia has seen quite a bit of Kusama's work in recent years, and had a major exhibition at Brisbane's GOMA last summer. At the same time, her 'Flower Obsession' installation was at the centre of the National Gallery of Victoria's first Triennial – hundreds of thousands of people 'obliterated' a regular apartment using flower stickers over the exhibition's 122-day run.

She's been making infinity rooms since the 1960s, which use mirrors to create the illusion of a never-ending space. But it was in 1993 that she broke through internationally with 'Mirror Room (Pumpkin)' at the Venice Biennale, which featured a mass of pumpkins painted in yellow with black polka dots. And now that the Instagram generation has discovered Kusama's work, she's had an explosion of major exhibitions all around the world.

The infinity room at the NGA is related to the one she presented at the Venice Biennale, featuring a seemingly endless field of yellow pumpkins with black polka dots. The idea is that you can engage in endless reflection – in a personal sense – in a space of literal endless reflection. 

Yayoi Kusama, 'The Spirits of the Pumpkin Descended into the Heavens', 2015

The artwork was purchased using the Japanese Art Fund, supported by Andrew and Hiroko Gwinnett. Andrew Gwinnett said: "It has long-been my ambition to see a major contemporary Japanese artwork housed in Australia’s national collection... Kusama’s playful installation is a legacy that will keep giving for generations to come."

The installation will be on display from December 2018.

Planning a trip to Canberra? Check out our guide. Or if you're staying in Melbourne, here's our hit-list of the best art exhibitions this month.

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