In celebration of RM’s birthday and in inspiration of him visiting Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors, I decided to finally publish my experience at the exhibits when they came to The Cleveland Museum of Art! It’s been a while, but I’ll do my best!
Enjoy! (⁄ ⁄^⁄ᗨ⁄^⁄ ⁄)
Leaving the house during this time was extremely difficult. It was August of 2018 and I was still seeing a therapist at that time. The number of emotions I had was overwhelming: disappointment with my life, lack of love and affection for myself, and an overall stagnant feeling when reflecting on what I considered to be minor accomplishments really weighed me down. So, I would stay at home. Work in the morning, return home in the evening, rarely leaving the house on the weekends. Friends would invite me out and I’d make-up excuses, sometimes I wouldn’t bother responding.
Dragging myself out of the house was an obstacle, so much so, that I would buy concert tickets and not appear. I remember the feeling I had when I woke up one day, knowing I had tickets for an event and feeling absolute dread, physical weakness-I just wanted to stay home.
This day was different. Closer to the date, my mind opposed going, but I had a desire to be among the stars! As luck would have it, I made it to The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) on time and was early for assigned entry. I had plenty of energy and I was so excited to be there. I had no idea what I was in for.
The full Infinity Mirrors exhibit was on the lower level of CMA, but right before the escalators was a special edition mirror as well as other infinity art installations that decorated the atrium. The first mirror was a good trial to learn the ropes. Guests could only walk-in when an associate opened the door, and they only had about a minute to experience the mirror until the associate escorted them out. This mirror, in particular, was mostly dark with faint lights shining through cut-out circles dotted along the walls. I remember feeling afraid for a brief moment before I realized it not just a dark box, I was seeing glimpses of stars at dusk. Before I knew it, my fantasy ended as the door opened and I was riding the escalators downward. It was just a taste of what was to come and I wanted more.
Right before the main exhibit entrance was a short biography on Yayoi Kusama and an overview of the Infinity Mirrors. I am by no means a Kusama scholar, but I interpreted her art to emphasis her vision of self-obliteration, a means by which we can celebrate life by accepting that we are all a part of the same infinite space and to become one with it. It resonated with me, really setting the mood. Since my personality is more on the emotional side, I remember things by feeling, so that’s how I’ll describe my experience at each exhibit: Peace, curiosity, courage, joy, inspiration.
I felt at peace in Phalli’s Field with a slight haze around me and each reflection of myself looking forward, unafraid of being alone (I could’ve stayed in there forever (︶ω︶)). Although I couldn’t see other exhibit goers, I could hear them talking outside the room, but I knew I was fine. Another part of my character is curiosity. Noticing that Kusama’s artwork played with themes of life an death really piqued my interest. As I visited The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, (especially Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity), gazed upon Kusama’s paintings and walked around the Obliteration Room, I started to insert myself into a broader picture: one that put me alongside each CMA guest, of each stranger I have passed or have yet to meet, of other people like myself that just needed to know they mattered. That gave me so much courage. Love Transformed into Dots gave me joy (it was so whimsical! (๑ˊ͈ ॢꇴ ˋ͈)〜♡॰ॱ), as well as smaller mirrors like Love Forever where you face another person experiencing what may be the same emotions as bright colors cascade across the mini chamber and dance across each other’s faces. I definitely left the exhibition inspired, and I told as many people as I could to see it before it traveled to the next city.
I’d have to say my favorite Mirrors was Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity. It was a very dark room and the lights that descended from the ceiling would flicker like lit candles…until they flickered off. At this moment, life passed on to death while the traveler is in absolute darkness. But! The lights would slowly flicker back on which meant to me there is hope as life is created or, perhaps, as there may be life after death.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors was such an amazing experience for someone suffering from depression to know that I’m not alone in this entire universe. If you’ve ever gone, let me know your feelings in the comments. If you ever get the chance to go, please do! It’s a once in a lifetime experience.
CMA campus is beautiful and particularly serene that day. I decided to bask in the exhibit afterglow by the water. In the background, you can hear church bells and someone playing the saxophone.