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LIGHT OF LIFE (work of art)

Artwork Info

Created
2018
Artist
Yayoi Kusama
Nationality
Japanese
Birth/Death
1929-
Dimensions
86 5/8 x 84 1/4 x 72 7/8 in.
(220 x 214 x 185.1 cm)

Credit

Purchased with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest) and the bequest of Carlyle Adams, with additional funding from James Keith Brown and Eric Diefenbach, and Dr. W. Kent Davis and Dr. Carlos Garcia-Velez

Object Number
2017.19
Culture
Japan
Classification
Sculpture
Department
Modern

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. From entire rooms filled with dots or lights and mirrors to spotted pumpkins to 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 neverending universe. 

Learn More

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 2017. 

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.” -Yayoi Kusama

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

Additional Resources

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Images

  • An interior view of a large, hexagon-shaped box filled with hundreds of color-changing light bulbs that reflect off the mirrored walls inside.

    LIGHT OF LIFE

  • An interior view of a large, hexagon-shaped box filled with hundreds of color-changing light bulbs that reflect off the mirrored walls inside.

    LIGHT OF LIFE, exterior view.

  • An interior view of a large, hexagon-shaped box filled with hundreds of color-changing light bulbs that reflect off the mirrored walls inside.

    Light of Life by Yayoi Kusama

  • An interior view of a large, hexagon-shaped box filled with hundreds of color-changing light bulbs that reflect off the mirrored walls inside.

    LIGHT OF LIFE by Yayoi Kusama

  • An interior view of a large, hexagon-shaped box filled with hundreds of color-changing light bulbs that reflect off the mirrored walls inside.

    LIGHT OF LIFE by Yayoi Kusama

  • An interior view of a large, hexagon-shaped box filled with hundreds of color-changing light bulbs that reflect off the mirrored walls inside.

    LIGHT OF LIFE by Yayoi Kusama