The Emporium’s poor attempt at bringing you a little bit of culture, so that you can pretend to blag it and know it all …

Kusama – The Dotty Lady

Yayoi Kusama is one of Japan’s best known artists, although it has to be said that I of Italian and Bolton decent knew very little about her until I visited her exhibition at the Tate Modern earlier this month.

My first impression is the painstaking repetition that features heavily in all of her Kusama’s work from her detailed drawings to her humoungus canvasses.  Kusama apparantly suffered from hallucinations of dots and flowers as a young child and these images play a prominent part in her lifetime of art.  Enough to drive one mad perhaps, as since 1977 she has voluntarily  been living in a mental institution in Japan.

Mind you, all that hallucinating came in very handy in the 1960’s and 70’s where her work was embraced by America’s hippy culture.  There she started on a performative experimentation and encouraged naked participants to paint dots on each others bodies.  Now, I generally like a naked body as much as the next man (as long as the next man is a buff Steve Backshall – dishy) but I found her films and projections rather for want of a better word naff.  I’m sure they were very groundbreaking at the time  but – oh deary, dreary me!

My! What a long snake you have there Mr Backshall, or are you just pleased to see me?

Oh, whoops, yes! Got a bit distracted. 2nd snake option:- Yayoi Kusama – the choice is yours

And then there’s the fascination with the penis!  That’s all fine and dandy, but I like a well constructed willy and not one made out of an old sports sock thank you very much.  I was disappointed in the execution of Aggregration:  One Thousand Boats Show.  Also phallic inspired installations and sculptures Leftover Snow, Dream and Prisoner’s Door didn’t reach an anti-climax in me and just left a sour taste in my mouth.

“Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show” – The first bottom to be shown on Miss Hegarty’s Emporium and hopefully not the last

“The Lady of Shallott” also to be found at the Tate. Would the lady have preferred a ride in a phallus-encrusted rowing boat perhaps?

My all time favourite Kusama room is the very last entitled Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, which is pretty much a room filled with mirrors (title may have given that away slightly) and lots of lights that change colour.  It’s sheer and simple brilliance.   My only disappointment with regards to this installation was the small unsupervised child who  insisted on telling me the cycle of the lights.  It (meaning the child), I presume, was part of Kusama’s great plan – for who would have bought such a young mind to see a boat made willies at such an early age, well really!

So, what I’m trying to say is go for Kusama’s paintings and the nice light room at the very end – but don’t take my words for it!  The Yayoi Kusama exhibition is on at the Tate Modern until 5th June 2012.  Click for more details.  Go on!  Off you go!

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