29 Nov 2012: Is there anywhere Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama isn’t at these days? The polka-dot obsessed, famously eccentric 83-year-old’s work seems to be everywhere, globally – from a massive Tate retrospective earlier this year to the window displays of Louis Vuitton stores worldwide (including Singapore) – and locally – from the rooftop garden at Orchard Central to the Affordable Art Fair. For the grand opening of Gillman Barracks in September, Ota Fine Arts – who represents the artist at their flagship gallery in Japan – featured a series of new Kusama works; the second and current show is yet another solo Kusama exhibition, this one taking us back a few years.
Love Forever features 25 large-scale black-and-white works, all done between 2004 and 2007 with a simple black felt marker. It’s a distinct contrast from her typical, more colourful works (as shown in Metallic, Ota’s first show), but the works still nevertheless showcase the repetitive techniques and patterns of dots and lines the artist is known for, the result of the hallucinations the artist famously suffers from (one of the reasons why she chose to stay in a mental hospital).
As with most shows at the big-branded galleries of Gillman Barracks, it’s a high quality exhibition, with the pieces neatly lined up side-by-side in two rows, filling practically all the available wall space at Ota’s bright, airy gallery. The effect is somewhat overwhelming, with viewers completely surrounded and immersed in Kusama’s work. With this exhibition, Ota succeeds in giving us an idea of what it’s like to live in the surreal world that the artist’s mind inhabits.