Yayoi Kusama. INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM - LET'S SURVIVE FOREVER, 2017. Wood, metal, glass mirrors, LED lighting system, monofilament, stainless steel balls and carpet, Installed: 312.4 × 624.8 × 622.9 cm. Purchased with funds from the David Yuile & Mary Elizabeth Hodgson Fund, Michelle Koerner & Kevin Doyle, Robert Dorrance & Gail Drummond, The Schulich Foundation, Soichiro & Junko Yamamoto, Diane Bald & Michael Budman, Don & Denyse Green, DH Gales Foundation, Maxine Granovsky Gluskin & Ira Gluskin, Barry Appleton & Magaly Bianchini, Emmanuelle Gattuso, Sheryle & David Saunders, Robin & David Young, Laura E. Baldini, Diana Billes, Edison Chai, Julian Chan & Yi Hyun Park, The Francis and Denise Connolly Family, Creeds, Eileen Farrow, Ivan Fecan & Sandra Faire, Hallisey Family, Victoria Jackman, Val Koziol, David Kozman & Kristin Blakely-Kozman,The Charles & Jane Kucey Foundation Fund, Jämes Lee & the Julie Institute, Chelsea Longaphy & Bernie Li, Martha LA McCain, Abby, Perry & Jordan Minuk, Carolyn D. Mullin, Samuel & Alice Peralta, In Memory of Pierrette & Abel Rancourt, Heather & Aaron Regent, Shevlen Family, Mary Sinclair, Jay Smith & Laura Rapp, J. Kenneth & Margaret Syer-Torrance, and the generosity of thousands of art lovers, 2018. © Yayoi Kusama, Courtesy David Zwirner, New York; Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo/Singapore/Shanghai; Victoria Miro, London/Venice. Photo AGO 2018/28
In moments like these, time is a funny thing. Sometimes it races forward at infinitely greater speed, sometimes it slows life to a grinding halt. Given the events of 2020, it seems otherworldly that a full year has passed since the AGO welcomed visitors to the infinite possibilities of our very own Yayoi Kusama INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER.
You heard that right! It’s been one whole year since we wrapped up a crowdfunding campaign (that saw more than 4,700 generous donors help bring this incredible work to the AGO, forever) and welcomed our first visitor to experience #InfinityAGO. Although you can’t currently experience this mirrored chamber of endless reflection, we wanted to celebrate this milestone by taking a moment to thank all our donors and supporters, and to take a look back at your reactions to this infinitely intriguing work of art.
Featuring a whimsical assortment of stainless-steel orbs hanging from the ceiling and dotting the floor, LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER is a fully mirrored room that endlessly reflects the viewer’s own image. Sitting in the centre of the chamber lies a large mirrored pillar with several small port-holes to transport viewers further into their own obliteration. Viewing this pillar in relation to the perimeter of the space is part of the other-worldly, infinite experience Kusama’s installations are famous for.
As an artist, Yayoi Kusama has had an interesting and diverse career over the past six decades. Born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan in 1929, Kusama first studied traditional Japanese painting before relocating to New York City around the age of 30. Active at the same time as Pop Art icons Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, she is considered to be a staple in the avant-garde art movement of 1960s New York. Developing work through new mediums like sculpture and performance art, Kusama’s fame grew as she became more bold and political in her approach –staging large scale anti-war happenings and building polka dot-covered phallic objects. In 1966, her first infinity room (Infinity Mirror Room: Phalli’s Field) was created.
Since then, her work with mirrors and reflection has focused primarily on the idea of self-obliteration. LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER uses the infinite reflection of the subject (the viewer) and the motif of polka dots to visually allow the self to disappear in the eternal abyss. The clever irony of this concept in our modern, social media era of selfies might be Kusama’s most important contribution yet.
We are looking forward to a time when we can safely welcome people back to the museum, and back into the endless universe of Yayoi Kusama’s INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – LET’S SURVIVE FOREVER. In the meantime, we’re reflecting back on some of the amazing selfies from visitors who experienced this work before the closure.
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Contemporary programming at the AGO is generously supported by Canada Council for the Arts.