My friend Terence (a.k.a. “Akimblog” reviewer) recently sent me a link to Yayoi Kusama’s latest installation at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art. For this show, the legendary Kusama built a large domestic environment, painted everything a dazzling white, and over the course of two weeks invited children visiting the gallery to apply coloured dot stickers wherever they pleased. It’s called The Obliteration Room and it appeals to me on so many levels—as a longtime fan of Kusama’s conceptual art, as a mother of two children who are constantly seeking interactivity, as a wannabe defacer of pristine art spaces….
There is a joyfulness and irreverence to Kusama’s work that makes her a rare animal in the art world. I saw a work by Kusama years ago at the Art Gallery of Ontario that consisted of a single sticker on the wall. This tiny red dot, otherwise known to gallerists as a “sold sticker,” knocked me off my feet for all it said about art being reduced to what is buyable and sellable. It also struck me as subversively stingy coming from an artist who has been known to paint dots on every available surface including her own naked body.
A quick Google search will yield a surge of information about Kusama’s glittering career and complicated mental health history, but let me leave you with one quote:
“… we are all just one polka dot that is within this planet, which is but a dot within the solar system, which is a dot within the galaxy, which is a dot within the universe..”
Sort of humbling, isn’t it?