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Yayoi Kusama exhibition – Victoria Miro Gallery

I can’t remember the last time I had a day date with myself. Since kids entered my world, alone time is very precious or to be more precise, non-existent. So when the opportunity arose to visit the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Victoria Miro Gallery on Wharf Road, I grabbed it with two hands and ran!

Contemporary art galleries London

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

Once the kids were successfully dumped at school, I made the 10 minutes walk (bonus) on a sunny day to the exhibition space close to the silicon roundabout on Old Street.

The gallery is housed in a 8,000 square foot former furniture factory, over two floors.

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

It also has its own waterside gardens overlooking the Regent’s canal at the Wenlock Basin, a space cleverly filled with installations.

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

Yayoi Kusama, a Japanese artist has been creating work on and off canvas since the 1950s. Her work reflects her fascination with the infinite and polka dots. At the Victoria Miro galleries she is exhibiting a years worth of new paintings, sculptures and installations, which includes three mirrored rooms and lots and lots of pumpkins. Halloween has definitely arrived stylishly early in Islington this year!

The ground floor houses the Chandelier of Grief (2016).

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

Featuring a rotating chandelier in the centre it reflects bouncing light from all directions, creating a very trippy experience.

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

The upper gallery is home to the famous pumpkins. You first enter a large space with a trio of polished mirror bronze pumpkins of different sizes.

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

They neatly lead you to the fabulous All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016).

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

A dark room covered entirely in mirrors reflecting endless rows of glowing yellow and black plastic pumpkins. It was the most wonderful site.

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

Only downside being that you have to share the experience with a random stranger. Like Noah’s ark you are let in two by two. Not great when you’re trying to take a instagram worthy picture on a time constraint of an unbelievably short 20 seconds.

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

The final mirrored room titled Where the Lights in My Heart Go (2016) is located in the garden. A large mirrored cube reflects the pond which contains the stainless silver spheres of Kusama’s Narcissus Garden (1966), a permanent feature in the pond.

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

Once inside the cube, you are plunged into darkness, pierced with shafts of lights from small punctured holes in the cube. Making you feel like you’re staring at a constellation of stars. Magical! The few brief seconds I had of enjoying the installation and capturing a picture in the dark resulted in this erm strobing effect. Not exactly dots, but the result of a rushed shot before the door opened.

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

Up a narrow steep flight of steps you head to the upper gallery. Containing some of Kusama’s acrylic on canvas paintings from this year.

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Victoria Miro

Yayoi Kusama exhibition

It’s an amazing, immersive experience. Next visit I’ll be taking my girls straight after school, they’ll go nuts for the pumpkins. You have no tickets to deal with at this exhibition just some very long queues. Don’t miss it!

Do you have places you love going to on your own? What’s your favourite contemporary art exhibitions in London? Let me know in the comments box below.

Victoria Miro | 16 Wharf Road | London | N1 7RW


Contemporary art galleries London | Yayoi Kunama, Victoria Miro


  • Laura Nolan 15th June 2016 at 6:51 pm

    It sounds like an amazing exhibition to visit, especially the pumpkins and the chandelier!

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th June 2016 at 8:41 pm

      It’s the best one I’ve been to so far this year!

  • Joanne Mallon (@joannemallon) 15th June 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Wow what an absolutely amazing looking exhibition. I think we savour these things more when we are used to being with our children all the time and not getting much time to ourselves. When I can do it, I like going to the cinema by myself in the afternoon because it feels like real luxury of time to be able to do that.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th June 2016 at 8:42 pm

      You’re right Joanne, you definitely appreciate those moments to yourself. Going to the cinema is a great idea, its not something I do nowadays unless its a disney is somehow involved.

  • Jolina 15th June 2016 at 7:11 pm

    What an amazing exhibit. I especially loved the pumpkin room (is it called the pumpkin room?? lol!)

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th June 2016 at 8:45 pm

      It’s called All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins. And you sure do end up walking out of there with a lot of love for them.

  • mutange12 15th June 2016 at 7:19 pm

    This is quite beautiful. You must have really enjoyed your time.

  • Nemo 15th June 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Super Cool!
    Love this kind of patterend art.
    I have a week off next week… Seriously?… I think I might go.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 15th June 2016 at 8:48 pm

      You really should go, it’s bloody brilliant! The woman is a genius.

  • serenityyou 16th June 2016 at 11:26 am

    The place looks beautiful. I really like the dark from with mirrors showing of the pumpkin, that looks great

  • Dreammerin 16th June 2016 at 12:23 pm

    This looks just fantastic! The first color is very impressive! I like the atmosphere in the photos!

  • Tiina A 16th June 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I really love her dotted art! it would be great to see this exhibition. I remember a couple of years ago she made a co-op with LV and the stores were decorated with her signiture dots.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 16th June 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Yes Tiina she did! She’s in her late 80’s now, an incredible lady.

  • Nicolas Puegher 16th June 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Just WOW! Amazing. I saw a lot of these pictures already on Tumblr but I was quite lost for not knowing nothing about it, thanks 🙂

  • ahmed 16th June 2016 at 6:34 pm

    what amazing looking exhibition, i really love that art , thanks for sharing

  • lilytravella 16th June 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I love your photos! Especially the creativity of you standing with the reflection and yellow all behind you!

  • emmyhaags 16th June 2016 at 11:09 pm

    That looks…. amazing!! Amazing pictures and just beautiful pieces 🙂

  • Bee 17th June 2016 at 2:24 am

    Pumpkins are my favorite. I’m sure your girls will enjoy this. We have so many creative minds out here it’s amazing

  • Sheena 17th June 2016 at 5:04 am

    what a fun gallery! Would love to have seen it in person, but your pictures make me feel like I was there! (and I agree, alone time after kids is hard to come by… glad you found some!)

  • janella2016 18th June 2016 at 11:26 pm

    you got some great shots at this event! I am glad the kids can experience this too

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th June 2016 at 7:03 pm

      Thank you Janella x

  • Jennifer L. } Modern Chic 19th June 2016 at 9:17 am

    Omg those chandeliers are just beautiful! I found myself staring at it for a few moments cause its amazing. The exhibition looks just amazing.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th June 2016 at 7:02 pm

      They are quite hypnotising Jennifer I agree.

  • Ana De Jesus 19th June 2016 at 11:52 am

    I had been wondering why I was seeing these golden pumpkins everywhere and now I know why. I would love to go to the exhibition if I can get time to.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 19th June 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Ana you have to try and make time. It’s so worth it!

  • Courtney Connolly 19th June 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Oh wow! That exhibit looks breathtaking! I love the venue but the art itself is stunning, especially the room with the chandelier and all of the mirrors! It’s like a dream!

  • Ruth 10th August 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I really enjoyed the exhibition when I went but it was a bit off-putting to have the experience ruined just as you’re getting in to it – those 20 second are VERY short!

    The hype around it is mad though, I was there on a Wednesday afternoon and it was so busy.

    • Sima Sthanakiya 10th August 2016 at 9:12 pm

      I totally agree Ruth the 20 secs is very frustrating. Loved the exhibition though.

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