Museums are often considered great sources of inspiration for artists. The opportunity to view art up close and personal, to experience first hand the color and emotion of a given work is priceless.
I recently visited the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. I go there a few times a year, but this time was special. For more than a year, I’d been anticipating a show by Yayoi Kusama: “Infinity Mirrors”. Much of her work was on display. Paintings, sculptures, and installations. Her love of repetition and polka dots so evident.
I have to emphasize my love for her installations (defined here as constructions of art that transform a space), or, as she calls many of them: Infinity Mirrored Rooms.
There were a total of seven installations included with this exhibit. Each one a unique experience of immersion into a piece of art. In fact many of these pieces, the viewer completely walks into, and is closed into, albeit, briefly. This is how it works: I waited in line outside of each of the Infinity Mirrored Rooms, which are essentially room-sized boxes with a door. A group of usually 2-3 people are allowed in at a time. I stepped into the room, and the door was closed behind my group. For a brief few seconds (20-30 seconds, depending on the room), we stand on a platform and attempt to take it all in. Our reflections surround us, accompanied by the lights and the visuals of the room. The walls, the ceiling, and the floor reflect our images. There seem to be thousands of them: reflections of the lights, and my own face.
I was surprised at the emotional impact of the first room I stepped into. It was called, “Infinity Mirrored Room-The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away”. There were lights suspended from the ceiling of the room, glowing soft colors reminiscent of the colors of stars in the night sky. Once the door was closed, the room was completely dark, but for the soft glow of these lights. My eyes adjusted, and I could make out my reflection, and the reflections of the two others in my group. At that moment, it was as if I was transformed into part of the cosmos. Stars, and space, all around me in every direction, and my own reflection, all together. The room was no longer a room, it felt like an entire galaxy, and I was part of it.
Perhaps it was the anticipation from having waited so long to see this piece of art, or maybe it was the fact that crowds and lines make me nervous. Perhaps it was that the art was particularly effective in its intent. Maybe a combination of all these. Whatever it was, I was moved to tears in 30 seconds. I stepped in a little room and felt the vastness of the universe and saw myself as part of it. It was incredible.
The subsequent rooms were equally impressive. Some creating a sense of vastness, others a sense of closeness. Some seemed deep and dark, others light and bright. They each had a unique feel.
I took pictures and video, none of which seem to do the works justice. But if you’re interested in seeing some of what I’ve described, I’ve included the link below. If ever you have the chance, though. See it, or feel it for yourself.