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Art Gallery of Ontario is only Canadian stop for highly anticipated Yayoi Kusama exhibition
Yayoi Kusama. All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Wood, mirror, plastic, black glass, LED. Collection of the artist. Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore and Victoria Miro, London. © Yayoi Kusama. Photo by Cathy Carver.

TORONTO.- Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors provides visitors with the unique opportunity to experience six of Kusama’s most iconic kaleidoscopic environments at once, alongside large-scale, whimsical installations and key paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the early 1950s to the present. It also marks the North American debut of numerous new works by the 87-year-old artist, who is still actively creating in her Tokyo studio. These include large-scale, vibrantly colored paintings and the recently realized infinity room, All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins (2016), featuring dozens of her signature bright yellow, dotted pumpkins.

"This is a rare opportunity to celebrate a living artist whose radical yet playful vision has had an amazing influence on art, design and contemporary culture throughout her decades of work," said Stephan Jost, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. "We are thrilled to partner with such a renowned group of museum partners to bring Kusama’s creativity to Toronto."

Organized in rough chronological order, Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors begins with the artist’s milestone installation Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field (1965/2016), a dense and dizzying field of hundreds of red-spotted phallic tubers in a room lined with mirrors.

The exhibition also includes Infinity Mirror Room--Love Forever (1966/1995), a hexagonal chamber into which viewers will be able to peer from the outside, seeing colored flashing lights that reflect endlessly from ceiling to floor. The work is a re-creation of Kusama's legendary 1966 mirror room Kusama's Peep Show (no longer extant), in which the artist used to stage group performances in her studio in the late 1960s.

Kusama’s signature bold polka dots are featured in Dots Obsession—Love Transformed into Dots (2009), a domed mirror room surrounded by inflatables suspended from the ceiling. More recent spectacular LED environments, filled with lanterns or crystalline balls that seem to extend into infinite space, are represented by Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009) and Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013).

"As Yayoi Kusama’s work is realized in different spaces, each venue will offer a unique sensory journey through Kusama’s world," said Hirshhorn Associate Curator Mika Yoshitake, who organized the exhibition. "When visitors explore the exhibition, they will inevitably become part of the works themselves, challenging their preconceived notions of autonomy, time and space."

A selection of more than 60 paintings, sculptures and works on paper also are on view, showcasing many of Kusama’s lesser-known collages, made after her return to Japan in 1973. These works trace the artist’s trajectory from her early surrealist works on paper, Infinity Net paintings and Accumulation assemblages to recent paintings and soft sculptures, highlighting recurring themes of nature and fantasy, utopia and dystopia, unity and isolation, obsession and detachment, and life and death.

The exhibition concludes with Kusama’s iconic participatory installation The Obliteration Room (2002), an all-white replica of a traditional domestic setting. Upon entering, visitors will be invited to cover every surface of the furnished gallery with multicolored polka dot stickers, gradually engulfing the entire space in pulsating color.

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