Yayoi Kusama | The playful exhibition of the summer

This is the visual arts event this summer in Montreal. The exhibition of works by Yayoi Kusama will open free of charge at the Phi Foundation starting this Wednesday to mark its 15th anniversarye Anniversary. But be careful, it’s sold out until July 31st! More tickets will be distributed on July 15 so you can play with the Japanese artist’s colorful immersions in August.

Posted at 8:00 am

Eric Clemens

Eric Clemens
The press

A ballet of lights rising in the universe [Dancing Lights That Flew Up to the Universe] is Yayoi Kusama’s first solo exhibition in Quebec. The internationally renowned artist is now 93 years old and lives in Japan. She still produces works. The Phi Foundation has partnered with his New York gallery (David Zwirner) to present selections that reflect his journey.


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Yayoi Kusama in 2012

Yayoi Kusama specialists will enjoy rediscovering the atmosphere of his dives and some of his paintings and gourds, but the exhibition is mainly aimed at an audience that does not know or little about the artist, especially young people. Located at 451 and 465 rue Saint-Jean, this outreach is highly recommended for children of all ages, as the universe of Kusama is so playful, magical, shimmering and soothing.

In the first room, at 451 rue Saint-Jean, you will find his famous pumpkins, dating back to his youth, which he spent in the heart of his parents’ nursery. However, it was her grandfather who woke her up to the charms of the cucurbits. At the age of 19 she had started painting and then turned to sculpture. Those presented at Phi are of polished bronze and lacquer and are quite large.


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Three pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama from 2016

In the second room we begin to enter his immersive universe with two types of closed cubic showcases that form mini observation rooms with mirrors ( look in rooms). Approaching small round portholes, we discover an infinite number of colors in which to distinguish the reflections of our face and that of the neighbor!

  • What we see when we look into one of the two mini observation rooms.

    PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

    What we see when we look into one of the two mini observation rooms.

  • The interior of the mini observation room titled My Vanishing Dream within a Dream [My Evanescent Dream Within a Dream]

    PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

    Dubbed the interior of the mini observation room My fleeting dream within a dream [My Evanescent Dream Within a Dream]

  • A visitor experiences a mini observation room.

    PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

    A visitor experiences a mini observation room.

  • In one of the two infinite mirror rooms

    PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

    In one of the two infinite mirror rooms

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The third floor is an information room about Yayoi Kusama with a series of photographs from his birth to now to better understand his career. Books can also be consulted on site.


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

The room features several dozen photos of Yayoi Kusama, as well as information about his career

We then go to 465, rue Saint-Jean, where eight paintings from the series are exhibited in the first room my eternal soul [Mon âme éternelle]. Naive, childish and descriptive acrylic paints on canvas. Featuring faces, profiles, eyeballs, amoebas, cell shapes and more. Colorful paintings made by Yayoi Kusama between 2013 and 2016.


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

table detail All the love that overflows (2013)

The exhibition ends of course with the two rooms of infinite mirrors, splendor of souls (2014) and Dancing lights that flew into the universe, the most recent (2019), which gives its name to the title of the exhibition. These two immersive experiences are the hallmark of Yayoi Kusama. She created about twenty of those little spaces that one loves to enter alone and where one better understands one’s special attraction to the cosmic world.

It would be a shame to reveal what you experience when you enter these rooms. The images that we offer you already give some indication of the effects felt. Just a piece of advice when you enter the first room of the work entitled splendor of souls, be careful where you put your feet because there is water on the bottom, on the sides. And walk slowly through these rooms…

Before leaving the premises, head down to the building’s basement, where Phi will present a participatory installation by Montreal collective titled Doux Soft Club location blue. An immersive environment created for the Kusama exhibition, made up of different elements, between abstract sculptures and playful furniture that you can touch, lie down on, meditate on or interact with. Everything is possible ! This installation is a good ending to a visit to the Phi Foundation that will make you feel lighter.


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Installation view of Soft Soft Club square bluein phi

So don’t rush to 451 Saint-Jean Street if you don’t have tickets to the exhibition. It’s been several weeks since those of July flew away. Additional tickets for visits in August will be available on July 15 (see link below). The same on August 15th and so on until the end of the exhibition, next January 15th. Good visit!

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