SINGAPORE – Disappear in an infinity of dots and explosions of light and color as Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama showcases 70 years of work in her first major exhibition in Southeast Asia.
In “Life is the Heart of a Rainbow”, which runs until September 3rd in the National Gallery Singapore, Kusama creates seemingly endless spaces through a kaleidoscope of patterns and bizarre forms on paintings, sculptures and mirror room installations.
The captivating visuals are the perfect motif for Instagram posts or the backdrop for the obligatory OOTD selfie and prove that there is more to see in this Southeast Asian mega-city than the Merlion.
Yayoi Kusama’s paintings and sculptures are on display at the National Gallery in Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
Louis Vuitton’s creative director Marc Jacobs portrayed Kusama in 2016 for Time magazine, who celebrated the Japanese artist as one of the most influential people in the world that year.
“We spent a couple of hours together and every time I tried to leave, she pulled me back into it. It made perfect sense with the art she creates – the intensity, the repetition. She just felt like the embodiment of what she’s doing, ”said Jacobs.
This hypnotic effect is most evident in “The Spirit of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens”, where two of her signatures – pumpkins and polka dots – extend as far as the eye can see in a peephole installation.
Yayoi Kusama’s “The Spirit of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens” at the National Gallery, Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
The same black-on-yellow color scheme greets visitors at the gallery entrance, where giant spheres hang from the transparent glass ceiling. Look up when the sun is shining brightly as the water reflecting off the roof covers the white walls with a smoky haze.
Yayoi Kusama’s “Dots Obsession” adorns the ceiling of the National Gallery Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
Another peephole opens into a light show that alternates from teal, blue, red, green, red, and gold before exploding in a purple zigzag of rainbow colors. All-round mirrored mirrors look like the inside of a disco ball.
One of the shown installations by Yayoi Kusama “Life is the Art of a Rainbow” in the National Gallery Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
The most immersive installation “Gleaming Lights of the Souls” gives the feeling of floating through the vastness of space with hanging lights that change their color.
When the lightbulbs go purple, the room feels like Cerebro in the X-Men, where Professor X searches the world for mutants. A change to green brings Maxine Medina’s visions to the outskirts.
Yayoi Kusama’s Gleaming Lights of the Souls at the National Gallery Singapore
Annihilation is a constant theme for Kusama, whose use of bright colors deceives a troubled childhood and depression.
Familiar shapes merge into a background of white and an overlay of colorful polka dots, as in “With All My Love for the Tulips, I Pray Forever”.
Yayoi Kusamas “With all my love for the tulips, I will pray forever”. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
Former Treasury Secretary Jose Isidro Camacho and his wife Kim, the art auctioneer, have borrowed some pieces from their personal collection for the exhibition. The Singapore-based couple staged “I Love Kusama” at the Ayala Museum in 2013.
This includes a Venus de Milo sculpture, which takes on an almost reptilian luster and is painted with a black and yellow mesh pattern everywhere.
Yayoi Kusama’s Statue of Liberty wiped out by Infinity Nets. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
“Life is the Heart of a Rainbow” attracts both local and foreign tourists. Polka dots adorn waiting shed posts and train doors throughout the city-state.
Arrive early on a weekday to enjoy the exhibition and avoid long lines, especially for the light installations.
For selfie seekers, there are solid, muted colors that don’t clash with art. You can find photos under the hashtag #sgloveskusama.
Tickets are available online and on-site for $ 30 Singapore dollars (P1.112), which includes full access to the entire museum. There is a $ 5 discount for members of the Academy.
The museum’s Southeast Asian Art Department features works by Filipino masters Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna, and Carlos “Botong” Francisco.
Juan Lunas “Espana y Filipinas” in the National Gallery, Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
Fernando Amorsolo’s “Occupation Market Place” in the National Gallery, Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News
Carlos “Botong” Francisco’s “Under the Mango Tree” at the National Gallery, Singapore. Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News