Text by Jo Applin
Almost a half-century after Yayoi Kusama first exhibited her landmark installation Infinity Mirror Room — Phalli’s Field (1965) in New York, the work remains challenging and unclassifiable. Shifting between Pop-like and Surreal, Minimal and metaphorical, figurative and abstract, psychotic and erotic, it seems to embody what the 1960s were about, while at the same time rejecting the prevailing aesthetics of its time. Lined with mirrors and carpeted with hundreds of polka-dotted fabric protrusions that Kusama called ‘a sublime, miraculous field of phalluses’, the installation succeeded in completely absorbing the viewer into a parallel world.
In this first monograph on an epoch-defining work, Jo Applin examines its ongoing importance in the context of Kusama’s ‘obsessional art’ and discusses its relationship to contemporary theory and the practice of artists such as Lee Lozano, Louise Bourgeois, and Eva Hesse, involving environments, ‘eccentric abstraction’, play, sexuality, and softness.