88 year-old artist creates kaleidoscopic installations, bending minds of people around the world

Among her many other works, including paintings, sculptures, and performance art, Yayoi Kusama has created mirrored rooms that leave the viewer thinking themselves inside a kaleidoscope or even a whole new universe. Now nearly 90 years old, she’s one of Japan’s most important living artists.

Kusama started experiencing vivid hallucinations when she was 10, often featuring flashes of light, auras, flowers, and most especially, dots. These themes, particularly the obsession with dots carried over into her artistic work. When she was 27, she moved to the United States and spent 15 years as part of the pop art scene in New York. In the mid-1960s, Kusama began making mirror rooms. Objects would be suspended at various heights and mirrors placed on the walls; for a viewer standing on a platform, a seemingly infinitely large space was created. Looking at one of the rooms is like having a psychedelic experience that goes on forever as you melt away into the infinite. Kusama returned to Japan in 1973 and for a time was largely forgotten. But then in the 1990s, interest in her work revived and there have since been exhibitions all over the world.

One of those exhibitions, “Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors” was hosted by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC in 2017. Six of her mirror rooms were on display, the most ever at one venue. Some of them were brightly lit and featured an infinity of small sculptures. Others used small lights to create the illusion of being in the middle of a galaxy’s worth of stars. After entering one of the infinity rooms, each museum-goer only had 30 seconds to take it all in.

To get some idea of just how spectacular Kusama’s infinity rooms are, have a look at the video that’s posted below. You may end up feeling like a speck of dust in an infinitely large but very beautiful universe.

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