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LIGHT OF LIFE (work of art)

Artwork Info

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

About

Among Kusama’s most well-known and celebrated works, are her “infinity rooms” – mirror-lined, kaleidoscopic works of art with seemingly endless reflections that create fantastic illusions of infinite space, confounding viewers’ perceptions of spatial limits. In reference to one of her first Infinity Mirror Rooms, Kusama’s Peep Show or Endless Love, from 1966, critic Peter Schjeldahl writes, “Peering through one of the two head-sized holes in the chamber, you view a depthless, receding blaze of lights – in the farthest distance a shimmering Milky Way – plus a thousand or so reflection of your own face and that of the person at the other peep-hole.” In 2002, Kusama wrote of the work, “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.”

LIGHT of LIFE is one of the artist’s most recent works, made in 2017. At the age of 89, Kusama is still working continually, with particular interest in adding to her Infinity Mirror Rooms series. This mirrored box is a hexagon with three openings or portholes at different heights—one opening on every other side—which invites the viewer to look inside a “room.” The view reveals a multitude of small light bulbs that constantly change colors in a mesmerizing, hallucinatory sequence that is approximately two minutes long, multiplied by mirrors that line the entirety of the box. Indeed, one’s reflection—and that of the light bulbs—is then repeated towards the infinite bounds of our visual understanding. This dazzling, and slightly disorienting, light show, as critic Roberta Smith describes it, gives one “the sensation of flying above an endless cityscape.”

tags: optics, physics, experiential, change, cycle, movement, perception, play, technology

Images

  • NCMA interns Meredith Wilson and Olivia Briere peer inside a sculpture entitled Light of Life by Yayoi Kusama

    LIGHT OF LIFE by Yayoi Kusama

  • NCMA interns Meredith Wilson and Olivia Briere peer inside a sculpture entitled Light of Life by Yayoi Kusama

    LIGHT OF LIFE by Yayoi Kusama

  • NCMA interns Meredith Wilson and Olivia Briere peer inside a sculpture entitled Light of Life by Yayoi Kusama

    LIGHT OF LIFE

  • NCMA interns Meredith Wilson and Olivia Briere peer inside a sculpture entitled Light of Life by Yayoi Kusama

    LIGHT OF LIFE

  • NCMA interns Meredith Wilson and Olivia Briere peer inside a sculpture entitled Light of Life by Yayoi Kusama

    LIGHT OF LIFE

Related Concepts

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