Exclusive Review: Yayoi Kusama at the Victoria Miro

As Halloween draws nearer, what could be more fitting than an exhibition centred around pumpkins? Titled ‘The Moving Moment when I went to the Universe’, Kusama’s exhibition consists of four main rooms: ‘pumpkins’ on the lower level, ‘Flowers that Speak all about my Heart to the Sky’ by the waterside garden, ‘My Eternal soul paintings’ in Gallery II and finally, the show-stopping infinity mirrored room ‘My Heart is Dancing into the Universe’ on the upper level.

It would be impossible to visit a Kusama exhibition and miss the humble pumpkin. These vibrant sculptures and paintings strike you as soon as you enter the room, contrasting against the bleak, pale walls. For Kusama, these are more than just fruit; they are comfortable, ‘humble and amusing’. The quirky fruits can be found in green, yellow and red, and are reflective of the ‘terrifying hallucinations’ she experienced as a young child.

Outside, in the waterside garden, you can find her bronze and acrylic flower sculptings. Personally, I found these to be quite kitsch and tacky, however, it’s easy to appreciate the bold colours and patterns that cover the flowers. Similarly, to ‘pumpkins’ the flowers are symbolic of the fantastical world Kusama experienced as a young girl, a beautiful world full of terror and wonder.

The upper floor of Gallery II houses a series of acrylic paintings that express ideas of infinity, peace and love – all key themes in Kusama’s work. Walking into the room can be headache-inducing but once you’ve given your eyes time to adjust, you can begin to marvel at the psychedelic patterns that form many of the pieces.

The infinity mirrored room ‘My heart is Dancing into the Universe’ was by far the highlight of the exhibition. However, with a 1-minute time limit, you do not get the chance to fully appreciate the beauty of this exhibition (or take a few cheeky Instagram photos). Kusama’s infinity room evokes ideas of the expansive universe whilst staying loyal to her love of colour and polka dots.

Open Tuesday – Saturday (10am – 6pm), tickets are free and available until 21st December on the Victoria Miro website: https://kusamatickets.victoria-miro.com/.

The exhibition can be located at Victoria Miro on 16 Wharf Road, London N1 7RW.

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