Dream a dream of dots with Kusama

MOCA Shanghai
“A Dream I Dreamed” exhibition by Kusama Yayoi
Showing through March 30, 2014  |  Entrance: ¥50
Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, Gate 7, People’s Park, 231 Nanjing West Road  |  Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm; Fri-Sat 9am-7pm
People’s Square Metro Station, Line 1, Exit 11


Ready to dive into the mind of a hallucinating obsessive compulsive artist? Head over the the MoCA Shanghai for the current exhibit “A Dream I Dreamed” showcasing pieces by Japanese artist Kusama Yayoi.  You’ll have a chance to ponder the meaning of art, get lost in an expanse, or even join in the fun (by adding your own dot to the Obliteration Room).

Shanghai MoCA

Kusama’s art and installation pieces will amaze you. Her canvas work is proof of not only her OCD, but also of her patience and persistence (maybe this also is part of the OCD). Imagine filling a canvas with scalloped strokes like the ones below!

Dots created out of the negative space (the canvas is pink, the painted part is green)!
Dots created out of the negative space (the canvas is pink, the painted part is green)!

Kusama’s installations will strike wonder into young and old alike. As the guide book states:

“One of Kusama’s enduring obsessions has been the depiction of infinite space, which she has explored to magical effects in her Infinity Mirror Rooms.”

Unfortunately due to the massive number of people trying to see this exhibit every day, we only had 15 seconds to ponder infinity—not nearly long enough by my standards!

Enclosed in a room of mirrors, suspended balls of light dim and fade, changing color in the process.

Enclosed in a room of mirrors, suspended balls of light dim and fade, changing color in the process.

Infinity Mirror Room

This exhibit is definitely worth a visit! But be warned, the showings’ popularity has exploded—meaning long lines to get in (I’ve heard up to two hours! We showed up 10 minutes after the museum opened on Sunday and there was already an hour long line) and of course lots of people clamoring to view and photograph each piece even once you’re in.

While Kusama’s art makes you want to just stand quietly and soak it all in, the other hundred people waiting to take a peak certainly won’t give you any time to allow that to happen! Don’t let this scare you away, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time at the exhibit, but going in with the right mind-set is key.

Be sure to pick up the guide book—and read it! Each painting or installation has a great description that helps to give a small peak into the mind of Kusama.

“At the age of eighty-four, Kusama does not stop creating art, while going back and forth between her studio and the hospital. She mentioned that she is so happy that she can still work and will never drop her brush. Her obsessive-compulsive disorder was like a shadow behind her since her youth, always following her, and closely related to her art world. The repeated patterns, multiplication, and expansion shown through her work are physically represented forms delivered from her emotional state. Her illness related to the obsessive compulsive disorder and hallucination was the foundation of her art and at the same time, her redemption. Thus, for her, art is not separated from her life, and she can live only as an artist for this reason.”—Exhibit Guide Book

As enthralling as the exhibit was, after almost two hours my friend and I were ready to escape just like these dots!

Run Away Little Dots!

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