HAM Helsinki Art Museum finishes up the year 2016 with a retrospective of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), one of the leading artists in the world today. The exhibition consists of her most notable works, including paintings, sculptures and installations.

The first major retrospective of the Japanese artist’s work to be held in Finland, In Infinity covers Kusama’s oeuvre from her early career in the 1950s to the present.

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Yayoi Kusama: Mirror Room (Pumpkin), 1991. (Installation shot). Photo: HAM / Hanna Kukorelli

Yayoi Kusama is known first and foremost for large-scale installations in which the viewer becomes part of the artist’s imaginary world. In these works, mirrors and water reflect endless expanses of dots, colours, pumpkins and spheres, and the viewer merges into the endlessly repeating forms and colours.

Comprising more than 200 pieces, the exhibition includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos and installations as well as materials relating to Kusama’s performances. In Infinity is also highlights Kusama’s relation with fashion and design.

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Yayoi Kusama: Obliteration Room, 2016 (Installation Shot). Photo: HAM / Hanna Kukorelli

The exhibition ranges beyond the museum galleries. Kusama’s interactive The Obliteration Room at HAM Corner will undergo a slow transformation as it becomes filled with colourful stickers placed throughout the space by visitors. The installation Narcissus Garden consisting of a thousand steel spheres, which was on display at the Winter Garden in Helsinki during summer 2016, will be on show at the HAM Metro exhibition space at Kamppi metro station during the exhibition period.

Yayoi Kusama is a unique artist personality, who in a career spanning more than sixty years has constantly introduced new things to contemporary art. She has been described variously as a conceptual artist, a minimalist, a surrealist, a pop artist and a feminist artist. Her output covers virtually all techniques and genres of visual art from drawing to painting and sculpture, installation, performance and happening.

Inner reality, hallucinations, fears and obsessions are the starting points of Kusama’s art. Its central themes are infinity, repetition and the desire to become one with the world.

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Photo: HAM / Hanna Kukorelli.

Kusama’s idiosyncratic imagery arises from the recurring visual hallucinations she has experienced since her childhood, in which the world appears covered in dots and repeating patterns, almost like an infinitely starry sky. Art became for Kusama a way to give form to these inner landscapes.

Yayoi Kusama is one of the most famous artists in the world today. She resides in Tokyo and continues to work every day.

“My heart is full of surprises to imagine how beautiful this great exhibition will be. Dear people of Helsinki who live in such a beautiful place, do please carry out your life with the power of art and eternal gratitude to this universe. I would love to devote this message far from Japan with as much love and peace as possible to my beloved people of Helsinki.” – Yayoi Kusama

The exhibition is organised by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in cooperation with Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Moderna Museet/ArkDes and Helsinki Art Museum HAM.