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Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Fireflies on the Water’

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There’s no denying Yayoi Kusama’s love of polka-dots. She dreams about them, wears them, paints them, and constructs them.

So it’s not surprising that ahead of her upcoming retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the famous Japanese contemporary artist is showing a new dotted-light installation titled “Fireflies on the Water.” Built inside a small room with mirrors on all sides, the exhibit consists of 150 miniscule lights suspended over a small pool. Search for a point of focus in the endless mirage of reflections — all you’ll see is a shadow version of yourself reflected back.

“Fireflies” is not so different from Kusama’s past work, as it builds on her hallucinatory approaches and psychedelic space conceptions. Like “Obliteration Room” and “Infinity Mirror Room,” it showcases her love of unnerving darkness and fascination for infinite space. But the newer work embodies a more tranquil version of her obsessions, perhaps marking a more peaceful period in the artist’s vision-driven career.

Kusama’s “Fireflies on the Water” will be on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art starting June 13th.

Elite.

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Aidan Sakiri

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