Tate Modern Celebrates 20th Anniversary with ‘Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms’ Exhibition

Tate Modern is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a year-long exhibition of Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms, offering visitors a rare chance to experience two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms. The show will run from 11 May 2020 to 9 May 2021.

Over the course of her career, Yayoi Kusama has produced more than twenty distinct Infinity Mirror Rooms. Two of them, Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life (2011) and Chandelier of Grief (2016) will be showcased in Tate Modern’s upcoming exhibition as part of its 20th-anniversary celebration. 

Yayoi Kusama

Infinity Mirrored Room–Filled with the Brilliance of Life

Chandelier of Grief

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. The artist is best known for her works of 'infinity nets' (with hallucinatory loops and polka dots). When she was ten years old, she began to experience vivid hallucinations which she has described as "flashes of light, auras, or dense fields of dots". She then brought these experiences into her art in a process that she describes as ‘self-obliteration’.

Kusama spent much of her time between 1962 and 1964 sewing thousands of stuffed fabric tubers and grafting them to furniture and found objects to create her Accumulation sculptures. She exhibited the works together in an attempt to create hallucinatory scenes of phallic surfaces but found the labour involved in making them physically and mentally taxing. In response to the labour intensity of this work, she started to utilize mirrors to achieve similar repetition.

Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli's Field

Infinity Mirror Room— Phalli’ s Field was perhaps the most important breakthrough for Kusama during this immensely fruitful period. It is a mirrored room whose floors were covered with hundreds of stuffed phalli that had been painted with red dots. This work first appeared in the exhibition Floor Show, held at Castellane Gallery, in New York, in 1965.

Infinity Mirrored Room–Filled with the Brilliance of Life

Hundreds of small, round LED lights are hung from the ceiling and flash on and off in different colour configurations on a timed programme

Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life (2011) is one of Kusama’s largest installations to date and was made for her 2012 retrospective at Tate Modern. It is a room through which visitors pass on a walkway made of mirrored tiles. The walls and ceiling of the room are also mirrored, and the floor surrounding the walkway is covered with a shallow pool of water. Hanging from the ceiling are hundreds of small, round LED lights that flash on and off in different colour configurations on a timed programme. The artist created three editions and the first one of which will be featured at Tate's exhibition.

Chandelier of Grief (2016) is in a white hexagonal structure, measuring nearly four metres high. The viewer is permitted to enter the room via a sliding door and, once this is closed behind them, enters into a mirrored environment in which a sole light source is a baroque-style chandelier suspended above head-height from the ceiling of the structure. The chandelier is fixed to a rotating mechanism and, combined with its flickering, pulsating lights and the mirrored walls, is intended to create a destabilising yet mesmerising effect. Kusama also created three editions and the present one is the second version. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Tate Modern's opening

Tate will also present Louise Bourgeois’s large-scale sculpture Maman

Alongside two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Rooms, the show will also feature photos and video footage of Kusama’s early performance pieces. Louise Bourgeois’s large-scale bronze spider Maman will also be reinstalled in the Turbine Hall, where it was on display when the museum opened in 2000.

The show will open to the public from 11 May 2020 to 9 May 2021. Tickets will be available for online purchase starting 1 March.

Exhibition details

Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Rooms
Period: 11 May 2020 – 9 May 2021
Venue: Tate Modern
Address: Bankside, London, SE1, United Kingdom