FilmKusama – Infinity

Wednesday May 23rd, 2018 at 7 PM


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Heather Lenz · USA · 2018 · 77 mins · PG

Now at the age of 88, legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is currently one of the most popular and successful artists in the world. Her recent New York gallery exhibition featuring her signature "Infinity Mirror Rooms," with brightly colored mirror balls in a space with mirrored walls - drew many thousands of visitors. Images of Kusama's work are ubiquitous on social media; installations, paintings, and sculptures tour around the world practically non-stop, and command top prices at auctions. One of her 1960s paintings sold for $7.1 million at a 2014 Christie's auction, a record for a living female artist.

That's the spoiler alert happy ending to the fascinating life story told in Heather Lenz's documentary. It was a long and difficult road that Kusama had to take to this happy end, battling sexism, racism, and mental illness to pursue and fulfill her artistic dreams. Lots of screen time is devoted to the many incredible images Kusama created over the years, images directly drawn from childhood trauma and the hallucinations that plagued her, beginning from age ten.

Kusama is best known for the iconic polka dots that are the signature motif of her work, which spring directly from the hallucinations that she began experiencing as a young girl.

In the 60's, Kusama also staged elaborate performance art pieces - or "happenings," to use the parlance of the time - often involving nude performers which she would adorn with her signature polka dots, many of them protesting the Vietnam War.

The doc explores the depth of symbolism in the word ‘infinity.’ For Kusama, it meant striving for an endless life after two suicide attempts. For the art world, it meant the ability to dissolve into an infinite world while viewing her work. Catalyst MagazineCast Yayoi Kusama

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