Long lines on the last day of Yayoi Kusama's Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow exhibition

Long queues forming at the National Gallery on the last day of the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, on Sept 3, 2017.
Long queues forming at the National Gallery on the last day of the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, on Sept 3, 2017. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SINGAPORE - Japanese avant garde artist Yayoi Kusama's Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow exhibition at the National Gallery Singapore comes to a close today (Sept 3) after a successful run which saw snaking queues and a constant stream of posts on social media.

Opening hours were extended to 10pm from last Thursday (Aug 31) to accommodate the late surge of visitors. All online tickets were sold out, leaving only tickets for visitors who came to the gallery on a first-come, first-served basis.

Accountants Kevan Oh, 29, and Lavinia Chia, 28, managed to avoid the long queues today (Sept 3) by purchasing tickets online on Monday. The couple, who were celebrating their first anniversary, were not previously familiar with the artist. They said: "We've seen all the beautiful pictures on Instagram and we wanted to see it for ourselves."

Open since June 9, the exhibition was the 88-year-old artist's first major museum exhibition in South-east Asia, showcasing more than 120 artworks in over 2,000 sqm of gallery space.

With paintings, sculptures, videos and installations from the 1950s till the present, Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow was also the first exhibition in the world to display Kusama's new soft sculptures and paintings from her My Eternal Soul Series out of her studio in Tokyo - including the painting after which the exhibition was named.

"It's great to see that this has attracted so many people in Singapore," said Mr Frederic Gauthier, 40, who is in the art business. "You're more likely to see this kind of queue in Hong Kong, with something like Art Stage."

 

Mr Gauthier, who is from France, was in the queue for 45 minutes already. He was accompanied by his Singaporean wife Janice Ong and son Tristan, 9, who said he was looking forward to seeing the "dot paintings and the big pumpkins". 

 

Entry to the exhibition cost $15 for Singaporeans and permanent residents, and $25 for non-Singaporeans.

The exhibition, which is a collaboration between National Gallery Singapore and Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), will travel to QAGOMA's museum in Brisbane following its showing here.

It was a similar case of Kusama dottiness at her recent exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., which attracted a record 160,000 visitors and was the most popular showcase in the museum's history.

Kusama is considered one of the biggest and most influential artists today, and is best known for her use of psychedelic colours, signature dots, provocative performance art pieces and mirrored rooms.