This past spring, Yayoi Kusama's infamous Infinity Mirrors exhibition arrived in Toronto to citywide chaos and excitement. With the Art Gallery of Ontario being the exhibit's only Canadian stop, tickets sold out almost immediately, with wait times to even purchase tickets reaching eight hours on average. I was lucky: as an AGO Next Member, I had two opportunities to visit, one of which included a private viewing of the event.
After experiencing Kusama's work at the Tate Modern and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art during my travels abroad, I chose to write my Bachelor's of Landscape Architecture thesis on the importance of interactive environments in public settings, specifically the community engagement these types of installations foster. Kusama's work is experiential by nature: you walk through it, touch it, alter it, and help make it, all while interacting with those around you in creating a shared experience. That is the beauty of Yayoi Kusama's art.
With all that being said, as beautiful as Infinity Mirrors was, I was a bit disappointed with the execution of the event. Experiencing the art felt more like a clinical process than something fun and organic. Guests were herded like sheep throughout the exhibit, moving from line up to line up to spend only thirty seconds in each mirrored room, and not a second more. The time constraints are understandable considering the sheer response to the exhibit, but in my opinion, diminished the experience. I’m looking forward to seeing how Cleveland’s Museum of Art handles the exhibit when I visit late this summer.
My issues aside, Infinity Mirrors was a fantastic event for Toronto to host and I'm hoping we see more exciting exhibits in the future.