Yayoi Kusama has worked as a painter, sculptor and environmental artist for the past 50 years. She moved to the United States in 1957 where she lived and worked in New York before returning to Tokyo in 1973. Kusama has developed a motif in her work known as the ‘infinity net’, which she explores through a variety of materials and forms. She traces this motif to her early childhood experiences, in which she ‘. . . was often troubled by a thin silk-like greyish-coloured veil that came to envelop [her] . . .’ Kusama uses images of nets, dots, repeated patterns and mirrors as ways of understanding and coming to terms with the vastness of life.
Soul under the moon 2002 explores reflection, repetition and infinity — themes central to Kusama’s practice — and is one of her ‘infinity’ mirror rooms, first produced in the 1960s. In many cultures, the mirror is an important symbolic, as well as functional, object. In Kusama’s mirror-room works, reflections are repeated to the point of disappearance, at which point the viewer may become confused and disoriented. The conventional purpose of a room is to contain and define a space; by contrast, Kusama’s rooms appear expansive and limitless. The experience of entering Soul under the moon is similar to gazing at a clear night sky full of stars: eventually, the sense of infinity is overwhelming and all-consuming.