You may have spotted (pun intended) all the black and yellow (Wiz Khalifa would be impressed) pumpkins that have exploded onto social media recently. The exhibition is only on until 30th July 2016 but it is not to be missed (if the queues don’t put you off).
After two hours queuing in the uncharacteristically baking summer heat, I had made it! After having to skip in and out the queue for a toilet break and another to get a bottle of water (and by that I mean an emergency orange calippo ice-lolly). I exhausted all conversational topics with the two very lovely girls either side of me (as an aside- forget Tinder guys…so many lovely if a bit hot/sweaty girls hang out in art galleries in London) I moped my sweaty face and crossed over into the land of infinity rooms, pumpkins and ambitious art.
I insist on calling it art even though my supervisor and I disagreed over whether Yayoi Kusama’s recent installations in the Victoria Miro gallery actually constituted art or instead was it just another example of a modern temporary experience that you feel and then forget? It ended with us agreeing to disagree- until next time…
The queues outside stretched inside the huge warehouse and garden space. Immediately, I was ushered to wait for the first mirrored room entitled All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins. At the top of the staircase you are met by three dramatic bronze pumpkin sculptures with an unassuming white box in the distance. I quickly learnt this background feature housed the first mirror room.
The timer starts as soon as you walk through the entrance, a quick 45 second trip into a chaotic pumpkin colourful land. I am finding it incredibly difficult to describe the sensation once inside; imagine a sort of pumpkin paradise- perhaps it is like being on a hallucinogenic drug and a grocery shop?
You have time to recover from the pumpkins once downstairs and another queue greets you, allowing all perspective to be regained. This was my favourite room hands down. It is entitled The Chandelier of Grief and once inside the hexagonal mirrored room above your head is a suspended chandelier that fills the room with gothic beauty and pulsing lights.
The last room is a reflective giant cube entitled Where the Lights in My Heart Go. You clamber into once within the garden space.
It was initially completely dark and then the strategically placed small cut out circles allowed beams of natural sunlight to bounce off the mirrors above and surrounding you for a very surreal experience. It reminded me of a grown up’s 3D glow in the dark stars. I had these above my bunk bed as a child (all the cool kids did…) I can imagine if you are claustrophobic this would not be a great exhibition for you as you become completely unaware of where the entrance and exit hole to the room is and instead twinkly lights bounce from every angle disorientating and boggling the mind.
Each of the art installations were incredible and despite the 45 second timed sprint experiences in each of the three-mirrored rooms it was worth the wait.
Thankfully the experience did not finish there.
Through the maze garden and upstairs housed more art including paintings and playful sculptures.
A highlight being a small curtained off room with a UV/ black light that transformed everyday drinking straws linked together into breath-taking shapes.
I wanted to learn more about this incredible artwork and the lady behind all the pumpkins and polka dots!
It didn’t take long to find out that the exhilarating bright palettes and lattice layer dot techniques used by Yayoi Kusama are repeated through much of her work. These motifs have their roots in hallucinations from which she has suffered since early childhood. She has chosen to live in a Tokyo psychiatric hospital and visits her studio opposite when her health permits.
Overall a truly wonderful and unconventional afternoon adventure.