Singaporeans still dotty about Yayoi Kusama on show's last day

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's first major museum exhibition in South-east Asia showcased over 120 artworks - comprising paintings, sculptures, videos and installations - in 2,000 sq m of gallery space.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's first major museum exhibition in South-east Asia showcased over 120 artworks - comprising paintings, sculptures, videos and installations - in 2,000 sq m of gallery space.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's first major museum exhibition in South-east Asia showcased over 120 artworks - comprising paintings, sculptures, videos and installations - in 2,000 sq m of gallery space.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's first major museum exhibition in South-east Asia showcased over 120 artworks - comprising paintings, sculptures, videos and installations - in 2,000 sq m of gallery space.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Japanese avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama's Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow exhibition at the National Gallery Singapore came to a close yesterday after a successful run that saw snaking queues and a constant stream of posts on social media.

Opening hours had been extended to 10pm from last Thursday - and till midnight on Saturday - to accommodate the late surge of visitors. All online tickets were sold out, leaving only tickets for visitors who were at the gallery on a first come, first served basis.

Accountants Kevan Oh, 29, and Lavinia Chia, 28, avoided the long queues yesterday by purchasing tickets online last Monday. The couple, who were celebrating their first anniversary, were previously not familiar with Kusama. They said: "We've seen the beautiful pictures on Instagram, and we wanted to see the exhibition 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 2,000 sq m of gallery space.

Comprising paintings, sculptures, videos and installations from the 1950s till the present, it 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 that the exhibition was named after.

"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."

When The Straits Times met him, Mr Gauthier, who is from France, had been in the queue for 45 minutes. He was with his Singaporean wife Janice Ong and son Tristan, nine, who said he was looking forward to seeing the "dot paintings and the big pumpkins".

Long queues formed over the weekend at the National Gallery Singapore, whose opening hours were extended till midnight on Saturday and 10pm yesterday to allow as many people as possible to catch Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's Life Is The Heart Of A R
At the end of the Rainbow lies a very long queue: Long queues formed over the weekend at the National Gallery Singapore, whose opening hours were extended till midnight on Saturday and 10pm yesterday to allow as many people as possible to catch Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's Life Is The Heart Of A Rainbow exhibition before it closed last night. The display, which opened on June 9, was the 88-year-old artist's first major museum exhibition in South-east Asia, showcasing more than 120 artworks, including her signature splash of polka dots, infinity mirror rooms and pumpkin sculptures. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

SURPRISING APPEAL

It's great to see that this has attracted so many people in Singapore. You're more likely to see this kind of queue in Hong Kong.

MR FREDERIC GAUTHIER, who is in the art business, on the long queues at the exhibition yesterday.

 
 

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 and Gallery of Modern Art (Qagoma), will next travel to Qagoma's museum in Brisbane.

It was a similar case of Kusama dottiness at her recent exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2017, with the headline 'S'poreans still dotty about Yayoi Kusama on show's last day'. Print Edition | Subscribe