Yayoi Kusama ponders the afterlife at David Zwirner gallery in New York

Large lit up, colourful, bendy, polka dot sculptures
Yayoi Kusama marks her debut at David Zwirner with an epic show of new work at the gallery's outpost in New York. Pictured, 'Love Is Calling', 2013
(Image credit: TBC)

A little over a year since her mega-retrospectives at London's Tate Modern (opens in new tab) and New York's Whitney (opens in new tab), the wonderful and elusive Yayoi Kusama is back in the spotlight with an exhibition of new works at David Zwirner's West 19th Street gallery. Encompassing 27 new large-scale paintings, two mirrored infinity rooms and a video installation, 'I Who Have Arrived in Heaven' is a fantastic summation of Kusama's most recent efforts, which mostly discuss her ever-encroaching reality: death.

Speaking via a translator at the press preview, Kusama, who donned a yellow polka-dot dress from her collaboration with Louis Vuitton, mused: 'In my career, I have always had to climb uphill. I have always survived because of everyone's kindness and kind understanding of my works, and the support of the people around me. Now as I approach death, I'm still full of big hope that we all have the power to spread love and peace, and I can do so with my work.'

Indeed Kusama's latest paintings, which exceed six sq ft and fill two of the gallery's three exhibition spaces, are vibrant, animated depictions of basic life forms. Seas of eyes, rows of human profiles and primitive faces swirl together in the artist's frenetic style, with the odd injection of thick, snaking arteries carrying smaller circular shapes. Each canvas is filled with colours across the spectrum, bestowing the work with a joyous, wondrous spirit.

The notion of mortality hits home in Kusama's newest mirrored installation. Unveiled for the first time, Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away is a cube lined with mirrored panels and a reflecting-pool floor that rebound multicoloured light from suspended LEDs. The lights flicker on and off repeatedly, evoking the dual sentiments of time standing still and going on forever.

In the gallery's third space, another mirrored infinity room, Love is Calling, shown earlier this year at the Mori Art Museum's 10th Anniversary, holds court with its multicoloured polka-dot tentacles filling the darkened space. Adjacent is the 2010 video projection Manhattan Suicide Addict (opens in new tab), which sees Kusama performing a song in front of an animated slideshow of her paintings.

This baring of past hardships, like numerous suicide attempts and her current residence in a mental health institution, make Kusama's current message of optimism all the more poignant. The epic show marks her debut at David Zwirner, whom she joined earlier this year after leaving the Gagosian Gallery.

Black infinity rooms with speckled light

Encompassing over 30 new large-scale paintings, two mirrored infinity rooms and a video installation, the exhibition is a bold summation of Kusama’s most recent efforts, which mostly discuss the ever-encroaching reality of death. In 'Infinity Mirrored Room - The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away' (pictured), 2013, suspended LEDs reflect off mirrored surfaces and the floor

(Image credit: TBC)

Four large canvas paintings on white walls

Kusama's latest paintings, which exceed six sq ft and fill two of the gallery's three exhibition spaces, are vibrant, animated depictions of basic life forms

(Image credit: TBC)

Three painted canvases on walls of gallery

Each canvas is filled with colours across the spectrum, bestowing the work with a joyous, wondrous spirit

(Image credit: TBC)

Purple flowery painting on canvas

'Dance Party Night', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Canvas painting of flowers on blue background

'Green Solitude', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Canvas painting of objects with faces

'Mystery of the Universe', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Large paintings on wall of bright gallery

Seas of eyes, rows of human profiles and primitive faces swirl together in the artist's frenetic style, with the odd injection of thick, snaking arteries carrying smaller circular shapes

(Image credit: TBC)

Abstract painting on canvas

'Pensive Night', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Abstract canvas painting on white background and yellow frame

'My Heart', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Abstract canvas painting

'My Visionary Life', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Abstract outline of faces on canvas

'Women in the Memories', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

Painting of abstract objects

'Where Is the Youth?', 2013

(Image credit: TBC)

ADDRESS

David Zwirner Gallery (opens in new tab)
525 West 19th Street
New York

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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.