Yayoi Kusama "Dots Obsession" Installation Continues Polka Dot Queen’s Reign

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Yayoi Kusama’s “Dots Obsession” series of installations reconfigures her trademark polka dots and mirrors — along with huge, amorphous inflatable objects — in response to specific sites. As with Reach Up to the Universe, Dotted Pumpkin (2011) reflection is presented in two modes: formally, in the continuity of the balloons’ red-and-white polka-dot pattern on the gallery walls, floor and ceiling, and in the infinite effect created by floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Both installations incorporate the viewer as a crucial element. Dots Obsession visually approximates the hallucinations Kusama reportedly suffered as a child, in which the entirety of her surrounding space was covered with repeating patterns. The installation also reveals the artist’s careful attention to the construction of space through color and form, and to the play of light and perspective accomplished by repeating a few simple devices — creating an immersive experience from red paint, white dots, giant balloons and strategically placed mirrors. By the late 1960s, the polka dots had developed into a strategy of what the artist described as “self-obliteration.” A prominent feature of her “happenings” and performances of the period, and usually daubed onto the bodies of participants, they symbolically neutralized the ego.

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Gallery of Modern Art

Stanley Pl, South Brisbane

QLD 4101, Australia