REVIEW: “INFINITY – KUSAMA”
Literally the hottest ticket in Toronto right now, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario has this City queueing and clamouring for tickets. Director/Writer Heather Lenz’s Kusama – Infinity Documentary explores the Iconic Japanese Artist’s journey from a young girl who was discouraged to be an artist, to a colourful international icon whose name stands alongside the likes of Andy Warhol within the world of Art. She remains today the top-selling Female Artist of all time.
At 87 years of age, Kusama still is hard at work on the daily with her creations which are defined by her signature polka dots, soft phallic sculptures, mirrors and pumpkins. She creates a feeling of the infinite through her dazzling installations and sculptures and this often is reflected in polka dots. Her philosophy is that the earth is just a mere polka dot among millions of other celestial bodies and we too on a grand scale too are polka dots.
Lenz details Kusama’s troubled childhood, drawing a connection between the speed at which the Artist works as a result of her mother often destroying her creations as a child. We get also a brief peek into her love life, her journey to being recognized in the United States after moving to New York and also her ongoing battle with mental illness. We witness how rejection and pain only has pushed her to work harder, all the while dealing with depression at points in her life which required her to live in a mental institution. We experience how heartbreaking it was for Kusama to be rejected by her hometown and how she rose as a pivotal figure in various movements over the years, though never quite getting the same recognition as some of her high-profile male peers. Also, Lenz ties together how her art often is a direct manifestation of her obsessions and hallucinations.
Kusama – Infinity is a gift in that it gives us her story first-hand. She lives to tell her painful journey, culminating ultimately in the celebration of life that she deserved after several years of darkness and the gift of joy she has brought the world with her work.
With its timely release, interest in her work never has been greater at this stage in Kusama’s life, especially considering how harmoniously her work aligns with this Instagram generation despite that being the opposite of her intention. Lenz‘s Film quenches the thirst of a public ravenous for more about this artistic genius.
KUSAMA – INFINITY plays at TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX beginning Friday, May 11, 2018. Kusama’s INFINITY MIRRORS Exhibit runs at the AGO till Sunday, May 27, 2018.
We had the pleasure of being among the first to preview Kusama’s Exhibit. More here, including photos.