I went to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea last afternoon. It was a raw, blustering, sunny, practically-winter day. Entering the gallery, the weather seemed to change! I literally had to peel away my layers in the emanating glow of Kusama’s latest work- a body of 27 pieces – 6 feet x 6 feet- paintings on canvas. The medium appeared to be Acrylic, though I had to sniff the canvas to make sure ! The colours were screaming tempera paint! Straight out of the bottle! Crayola – Colours inspired! Come join the fun, and make your own!
What were these large wall hangings with their applique- like shapes, their biomorphic forms- cartoon eyes or mitochondria? Bacteria or insects? What about these profiles of faces, long limbs that appear first as arteries, then feet, then shooting stars, then the cross section of an ant-hill in colours that crash land on the retina? Oh hello Pop and Op art! Purples against reds, pinks against green, blues on yellow- shameless streaking colours, bold colours laid bare, colours gone wild!
Was I looking at paintings of pond scum through an electron microscope, or the inner workings of DNA? Were these lines and shapes inspired from the Gond tradition of folk art from India or was she thinking about the Aboriginals and Their Dreaming? Was I looking in ( at our biological construction) or out ( at the cosmos) ? What was clear was her energy, obsessive drive, relentless consistency, passion and above all resilience that come right through those canvases.
And they come at you with a lightness and a joy.
I wanted to go home and take out the paints. I left the gallery in a great mood as if all my endorphins had kicked in after a 5 mile run.
Field Trip anyone?