IO – The first time I heard about Yayoi Kusama was when I went to Art Stage last year with a good friend and we saw her artworks. It was quite fascinating to learn about her and how colourful her artworks were. Yayoi is a Japanese contemporary artist who creates artworks and is talented in many fields where she shares her creations through writing, painting, art installations or even poetry. As an art lover, I find every piece of art be it a painting or even installation, they have a deep meaning to it. It is an expression of emotions and thoughts that inspires the viewer to absorb, reflect and connect.
Sometime last year whilst visiting Museum Macan in November after it’s opening with the Indonesian Heritage Society (IHS), we also had a glimpse of one of Yayoi’s installation titled “Infinity Mirror Rooms”. We had to wait in queue to enter where you see mirrors surrounding the whole room with colourful LED lights flickering on and off, underneath there is water and in the middle there is a small pathway for us to stand and see our reflection. You are only allowed to be inside for 3 minutes and thus, it is quite natural to instantly take selfies to post on social media but, I spent the first two minutes taking the moment in. The mirrors and lights that continuously changes colour gives you a view of beauty and wonder. It makes you feel how colourful life can be when seen from that perspective. This could be Yayoi’s perception of infinity, a celebration of life and its aftermath.
In April, randomly I stumbled across the information about Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition in Museum Macan and thus, decided to register our IHS group for a visit. The exhibit began on 12 May and ends on 9 September. The title of the exhibition is “Life is the Heart of a Rainbow” which is definitely portrayed in all her artworks. Being able to have a closer look at her artworks and have a guided tour by a guide at the Museum made us understand Yayoi better as an artist. Despite her rough childhood and her ailments she is able to have the positivity to create stunning creations that inspires the whole world.
The Museum mentioned that Jakarta was the last stop for the exhibit and they were able to share with us the main installations and her stories. Her achievements, her journey as to why and how she gained success is something you should explore for yourself when visiting the Museum. You may ask to have a guide or just go around the museum by yourself. The ticket price to enter for individuals is Rp. 100,000 but if you go in a group of minimum 10 people you get a 10% discount so Rp. 90,000 per person. For group visit you need to book 1 week in advance.
In all her installations you will find her main characteristics are either polka dots, holes/circles, mirroring, peeking or colours. What do they mean? All these aspects relate to her personally, the impressions from her childhood and despite having hallucinations it is amazing that she is able to create something beautiful almost even magical taking you to another world. The colours she chooses are quite striking almost like popping colours. There is also a sense of self-reflecting with the mirrors and how one can fill one’s life with colours through the emptiness. Almost like she is telling us that there is no emptiness but life can be embraced like colours of a rainbow which is certainly, a state of mind for us to reach at some point.
In conclusion, a visit to this museum and Yayoi’s exhibit is definitely a must. She is a well-acclaimed artist whose artworks are definitely worth to be seen and appreciated. Who knows it may inspire your inner talent to create something magical too.
(Simran I. Nanwani)