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Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow’: Explore An Artistic Obsession At The National Gallery Till 3 Sep ’17

After constantly seeing news of avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama’s upcoming exhibition in Singapore on Facebook over the past few months, it’s an understatement to say that I was hyped for the big day. Not only are her artworks intriguing (and trippy), Kusama’s life story is endlessly captivating.

From now till 3 September 2017, the exhibition titled Yayoi Kusama: Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow, will be on display at National Gallery Singapore. Beyond doing it for the ‘gram, head down with your fellow art junkies and marvel at more than 120 of her artworks spanning across seven decades.

The exhibition stretches across four galleries at the Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery with different highlights in each one. Starting at Gallery A, begin your journey and enter the mesmerising world of Yayoi Kusama.

Along with some of Kusama’s earlier works such as the ‘Infinity Nets’, a snaking queue greets you as you venture further. Being a true blue Singaporean, anything with a queue must be good, right? So I queued (twice actually), and didn’t leave disappointed.

Before entering the room filled with one of Kusama’s trademark motifs — a yellow-and-black colour scheme inspired by pumpkins — you will see a sign alerting claustrophobic visitors against going in. My advice is to always heed the warning signs.

The Spirits Of The Pumpkins Descended Into The Heavens (2017)

Although the dotted room with the mirrors is probably Insta-worthy enough for an OOTD, its main attraction is this installation that creates the illusion of a vast expanse of pumpkins.

Trippy? Yes. Is there another queue to peer into this peephole? Definitely.

As you make your way into Gallery B, you will first come across this walkway filled with mirrors; perhaps to get you excited for what’s to come.

Infinity Mirrored Room – Gleaming Lights Of The Souls (2008)

Gallery B houses what I suppose is the most popular installation in this exhibition — the Infinity Mirrored Room. Quite a few installations have a time limit imposed to manage the massive crowd but this particular one takes the cake with a 30 seconds cap.

When you’re in line, skip checking social media every five minutes and instead devise a plan to fully utilise the 30 seconds. This is more than an artwork, it is a race against time as well.

That being said, I found it really cute that there’s actually someone holding a stopwatch and ‘escorting’ you out once the time is up.

They say time flies when you are having fun and indeed, 30 seconds in the ‘Infinity Mirrored Room’ just isn’t enough. No one’s stopping you from queuing again but trust me, Gallery C has its fair share of good stuff as well.

My favourite one has definitely got to be this ‘peep box’ that will remind you of the installation back in Gallery A. Remember how Alice peeps down the rabbit hole and falls into a whole new world?

I’d say that this is a pretty similar experience but perhaps with an added tinge of psychedelic elements.

Titled ‘With All My Love For The Tulips, I Pray Forever’, this installation invites visitors to a world filled with dots, mirroring the hallucinations Kusama experienced at a young age. If you have been to ‘The Obliteration Room’ in the Children’s Biennale, you will definitely find this oddly familiar.

The appearance of giant tulips blending into the room filled with psychedelic dots also evokes Kusama’s concept of self-obliteration — ultimately losing one’s individuality and becoming one with the universe.

Why tulips? That’s for you to find out.

Kusama began her epic painting series ‘My Eternal Soul’ in 2009, originally only intending to complete 100 large canvases. Now, the series comprises over 500 paintings and is still ongoing, 24 of which can be found in Gallery C too.

People always say that Singaporeans are kiasu in everything and we have proven them right yet again because some of the works featured here have never been shown before! Time to update the list of ‘Things Kiasu Singaporeans Do’, my fellow comrades.

Narcissus Garden (1966/Recreated in 2017)

Heading out of Gallery C, proceed to Gallery H for a balling good time (literally). Featuring an array of tightly-arranged silver globes, this installation creates a vast shimmering field that reflects the images of every visitor walking through.

As you gaze into each shimmering ball, you are ‘forced’ to confront your vanity and ego hence the name ‘Narcissus Garden’. I am excused though since I was ‘doing it in the name of work’. *flips hair*

Random, but I actually saw a guy jumping into the field of balls just for a picture. Please don’t be like this dude; be a responsible museum-goer.

——

While it’s okay to pose for photos in this widely-acclaimed exhibition here in Singapore for the first time, it is equally important to respect and understand the inspiration behind Kusama’s works, which in itself is definitely more than the perfect backdrop for your Insta-worthy OOTD.

I would 10/10 go again. #SGLovesKusama

Dates & Times: 9 June – 3 September 2017, Museum Opening Hours

Prices: Refer here

Yayoi Kusama – Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow: Singtel Special Exhibition Gallery, National Gallery Singapore, 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 | Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm (Sun – Thurs, PH), 10am – 10pm (Fri – Sat, Eve of PH) | Website | Facebook


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