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When you strip off the filter and overlook the good angle, what’s left? In the age of ”doing it for the gram” and being a “professional instagram photographer”, it is easy to overlook the intended impact of any experience. In the instance of the Infinity Mirrored Room, I believe it’s imperative to understand artist Yayoi Kusama in order to comprehend the layers of her work.

Kusama, an Avant-garde Japanese artist, published author, fashion designer, poet and creator of the Infinity Mirrored Room, aims to give viewers a peek into her deepest, and often darkest, thoughts. On the first floor of The Broad Museum lives her perceptional experience; lined with glass mirrors and sprinkled with different sized LED lights, the Infinity Mirrored Room provides an otherworldly experience. 

Kusama’s adverse childhood serves as a large inspiration for her art; at the age of ten, she began experiencing vivid hallucinogenic visions containing “flashes of light, auras or dense fields of dots”. Her youth was suffocated with the presence of World War II. Growing up in Japan during times of abhorrent oppression, poverty and hatred caused her to crave freedom at a young age, and influenced her emigration from Japan.

David Zwirner, New York, 2013 Photo by Hope Dickens

David Zwirner, New York, 2013 Photo by Hope Dickens

In 1958, when living in New York, Kusama’s art blossomed. Her provocative style paralleled aspects of society’s tumultuous climate, including topics such as gender equality, protesting The Vietnam War, and The Hippie Movement. Kusama found that her art was most influential as a representation of space rather than on a canvas.  

Her use of wood, metal, glass mirrors, plastic, acrylic panel, rubber, LED lighting system, acrylic balls, and water offers observers the opportunity to step into an illusion of infinity. Throughout her career, Kusama produced over twenty unique Infinity Mirrored Rooms. Each room represents something unique to each viewer; to Kusama, the rooms represent her strength in overcoming her demons, and transforming them into dream-like works of art.

Although Kusama returned to Japan to live in a psychiatric facility in the 1970s, her signature installations outshine her other artwork. For others, perhaps, the appeal stems from today’s vain instagram age and the desire to get likes. For me, however, the appeal is Kusama’s ability to transform her unparalleled pain into something tangible….even if viewers only get 45 seconds.

So how do you visit the Infinity Mirrored Room? Once entering The Broad Museum, visitors can sign up by giving their name, cell number and number of people in their party to the person at the iPad kiosk in the center of the museum lobby. You will then receive the wait time from the digital queue; wait times can vary from a few minutes to a few hours. The installation has a limited capacity, allowing one to two people inside for 45 second increments at a time…and trust me, time flies when you’re admiring infinity.

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