Visited the Yayoi Kusamas “In Infinity” exhibition at the HAM museum yesterday. I was invited on site by Anna-Sofia Tuominen from TeaK whom I got to know during the “Horse and Performance” course this Autumn. A student group from TeaK presented short stories based on Kusamas life and mimicked some of her famous performances and fashion looks from the 60ties. They worked in every corner of the exhibition space, used spoken word, worked physically and engaged with the audience. The acts entertained kids which was usefull as I got to examine some works in detail. 

I liked her gouache paintings and there was an oil painting “Pacific Ocean” from 1960 which I fell in love with. It felt like a perfect example of an artwork which mixes Japanese illustration techniques and conceptual approaches. The exhibition didn’t analyse her career, artistic motivations or thinking that’s gone into making the artworks. As a retrospective it glorified Kusamas career and brilliance. A lot of focus was drawn to her mental healt issues and the artist “fragile mind” was underlined to certify her artistic qualities. Mental health issues seem to be popular branding tools. Some works felt very gimmicky and her later works were highly commercialised. 

The installations were joyful and fun to engage with together with a seven year old kid. There were mirrors, bright colours and unearthly shapes. I took particular pride in making the phallic and vulvic symbols understandable. Elderly exhibition guests blushed while I was educating my kid how to read the imagery.

Bought a OnePlus 3 phone. 

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