Dotty Love

“I, Kusama, am the modern Alice in Wonderland.” Yayoi Kusama

Taking advantage of the fortnightly, free Wednesday entrance to the Wellington City Art Gallery we ventured into Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Mirrored Years‘ exhibition after school yesterday. Kusama couldn’t have described herself better; she certainly is a modern day Alice in Wonderland. Her creative genius gifts visitors with a sensory explosion of perception. This is art for young and old (though the very young need to resist the huge temptation to touch and stay close to their care-giver). The exhibition runs till 7 February, 2010 and the staff said they recognised many locals coming in every fortnight for yet another dose of Kusama. The worlds she creates through her artwork take the viewer on a trip that is quite addictive to the senses.

Unfortunately no photos were allowed (but there are plenty of photographs available to view online), but the outside of the art gallery is a dotty love affair in itself! One of Sophie’s favourite Little Miss books is, ‘Little Miss Dotty’ and in the story she wins a prize for having the ‘Dottiest Idea’ in Silly Land – covering her house in dots. I think Kusama and Little Miss Dotty have a lot in common and it’s all fabulously dotty!

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The girls and I couldn’t get enough. It is so incredible. We kept returning to our favourite exhibits, walking through mirrored hallways to rooms covered in polka dots. Huge inflatable shapes hang from the ceiling of a room covered in dots. Bright yellow dots on a black background in one room, complementing black dots on a yellow background in another room. People were laid on the floor simply enjoying being in a surreal space. The girls kept returning to view the rooms from different angles, walking just on dots (which makes a nice change from avoiding cracks in the pavement!).

Another room has grey inflatables hung from the ceiling and also on the floor, with captivating black and white artworks hung around the walls of the room. It’s like walking through clouds.

A favourite of mine was a dotty lounge room, with multi-coloured dots on a black back-ground lit up in a luminescent glow of ultra-violet light. I can only imagine how it would feel to while away an evening over drinks in that room! There’s a photograph included in the article ‘Join the dots: It’s ‘mind-blowing‘ from The Dominion Post.

Another highlight, for all of us, was the incredible infinity mirrored rooms. In the ‘Fireflies on the Water‘ installation we stepped onto a small platform, surrounded by shallow water. The door was closed behind us and we had around 30 seconds to be dazzled by the fairy light bulbs hung in the darkness and reflected for infinity in the mirrors and reflections from the water. Some visitors have become a little disorientated in this room and stepped off the platform into the five centimetres of water below – read ‘Gallery visitors tumble off deep end‘ – The Dominion Post. We were far from disorientated and rather enchanted. We left feeling like we’d entered a magical world and felt guaranteed of psychedelic dreams that night (in fact Sophie woke at 4am, for the first time in a long time, saying she couldn’t sleep – but with me lying next to her she soon drifted back).

We couldn’t resist leaving without a little souvenir and you’ll see the girls displaying their ‘dotty’ bags in the photos above. We also picked up some beautiful origami papers and the girls have an idea to create a multitude of brightly coloured origami butterflies to decorate the house.

Here’s Charli’s report on our visit to the City Art Gallery (she has to talk about ‘a photo’ for news on Monday and she has chosen photos we took from outside the gallery):

Links and reviews:
This one time in Wellington… Yayoi Kusama: The Mirrored Years exhibition –
Yayoi Kusama: The Mirrored Years exhibition – WOTZON.COM
Kusama in Wonderland – The Press
Dotted reopening for City Gallery –