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
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.
It also has its own waterside gardens overlooking the Regent’s canal at the Wenlock Basin, a space cleverly filled with installations.
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).
Featuring a rotating chandelier in the centre it reflects bouncing light from all directions, creating a very trippy experience.
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.
They neatly lead you to the fabulous All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (2016).
A dark room covered entirely in mirrors reflecting endless rows of glowing yellow and black plastic pumpkins. It was the most wonderful site.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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