Due to some abnormal external forces, the gallery-goers at the Gagosian opening last Thursday knew to automatically lock themselves into a queue. This magnetic stream leaked out from the inner depth of the great gallery to swallow innocent bystanders on 24th street. Where are we? Where are we going? When will it end? Following the slow current, visitors may not have realized that they were being subjected to the existentialist experiment of Yayoi Kusama, the Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity.
An eye popping self-portrait of Kusama stood right behind the opaque entrance door, assaulting visitors with bullets of acrylic dots. With paralyzed Byzantine eyes she stared poignantly into the soul of every person in line, entrancing them towards the epicenter of her world. As the line undulated through the different white cubes of the gallery, the sense of curiosity and mystery heightened.
A series of paintings virulently punctuated the white walls, keeping folks within the realm of her parallel universe. All of them are executed in the same maddening pop-arabesques, or infinity nets as she calls them. It is almost impossible to drive one away from these nets. From the very first glimpse, the eye obtains an unquenchable thirst to find the end of the vermilion wire against the black abyss; to discover the mirage created, yet hidden, by storms of everlasting bubbles.
There is a disturbing opposition in Kusama’s work. It incubates within the minuscule nooks of its webs a powerful addicting force, while exhibiting an atrociously repulsive quality. I Want To Live Forever, a 8 x 30 feet installation of five consecutive canvases is the prime example. This infinity net provided another power source which drove the line along. The fierce fluorescent pink of the canvas radiates onto the vulnerable skin of passerby’s, giving them an omnipresent ethereal glow. Although blinded by the light, the line still strangely desired to glue itself to the wall. Kusama had entangled it within her delirious tentacle knots.
After a room full of vertiginous visions, the line entered yet another white cube, within which lived another white cube. But a closed one. Imagine a Chelsea gallery closed off to the public. Well, this was it, and the audience was there to break into it. But unfortunately, each person was only allotted one minute inside. With tapping feet and jittery fingers, the by now totally captivated line awaited, feeling the quiet tick of the clock. But what could be in there?
If one thought that perspective and solid ground were destroyed by her infinity nets, the only way to truly describe the experience within this white cube is a loss of dimension. Deriving from her line of installations, the world within the white cube which gives the exhibition its title, Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, is something that isn’t deserving of a written description. It is something so sublime, so un tangible, yet so supernaturally beautiful that it dumbs every person who dare steps into it. It is the closest embodiment of the divine and the earthly. You know that phrase ‘think out of the box’? Well, after seeing this installation, you will probably want to laugh when you hear it.