Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- One of Yayoi Kusama’s many Infinity Mirror Rooms, LIGHT OF LIFE is a hexagon-shaped box with three openings at different heights that invite the viewer to look inside. The view reveals a sea of light bulbs that constantly change colors in a hypnotizing sequence and are multiplied by mirrors that line the inside of the box.
- Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese installation and performance artist who is famous for her use of dots. Featuring entire rooms filled with dots or lights and mirrors, spotted pumpkins, and polka-dotted fashion collaborations, her consistent style makes her work easily recognizable.
- The artist has created more than 20 unique Infinity Mirror Rooms throughout her career. While many of these rooms take up entire gallery spaces, LIGHT OF LIFE’s smaller size makes its internal vastness even more awe-inducing.
- Kusama’s infinity rooms are intended to make the viewer feel small and insignificant, using millions of dots and mirrors to transform a single room into a never-ending universe.
Among Kusama’s most well-known and celebrated works are her Infinity Mirror Rooms, which are mirror-lined, kaleidoscopic works of art with seemingly endless reflections that create illusions of infinite space. LIGHT OF LIFE is one of her most recent works, made in 2018.
This mirrored, hexagon-shaped box has three round openings at different heights—one opening on every other side—that invite viewers to look inside a “room.” The view reveals many small light bulbs that constantly change colors in a mesmerizing, hallucinatory sequence that is approximately two minutes long, multiplied by mirrors that line the inside of the box. Viewers’ faces are reflected in the mirrors inside the box, and the reflections of color-changing light bulbs are repeated in a dazzling and slightly disorienting light show.
Thousands of illuminated colors blinking at the speed of light – isn’t this the very illusion of Life in our transient world? In the darkness that follows a single flash of light, our souls are lured into the black silence of death.
At the age of 89, Kusama is still working continually, with a particular interest in adding to her Infinity Mirror Rooms series.
tags: optics, physics, experiential, change, cycle, movement, perception, play, technology
Resources for Teachers:
- View a Kusama-inspired STEAM project for students.
- Explore family activities inspired by LIGHT OF LIFE.
- Watch a video of Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern.
Resources for Students: