in Research

IM2: Yayoi Kusama [The Obliteration Room]

About artwork:
Guest are invited to stick colourful dot all over a white room with white furniture.

About the artist:
Yayoi Kusama is one of the world’s quirkiest artists, known for her iconic dots, nets and pumpkins and infinity rooms. Yayoi mentions how when she was still a child; she started seeing the world through a screen of tiny dots. They covered everything she saw—the walls, ceilings, and even her own body. For 40 years she has made paintings, sculptures and photographs using dots to cover surfaces and fill rooms. Kusama calls this process “obliteration,” which means the complete destruction of every trace of something.

Personal experience and thoughts:
When I first saw the room, it had already been blasted with colourful dots. The exhibition had been ongoing for a couple of weeks. There was no trace of a white surface anywhere in the entire exhibit. But still, I felt compelled to make a contribution to the giant splatter of colours. Along with the other dozen children, we randomly stuck the dots on any surface we could find.

While it may be called “The Obliteration Room”, where her stated intention was to remove every trace of something, visually yes, we removed the object. However, through the process of deciding where to put the stickers, we scan and analyse every surface before we make our mark. We actually become more aware of the things around us. If I had been there earlier and seen the white room, I feel like I would have had a different experience and take away. The interactivity of the exhibit might be shortlived but it did have an impact and a compelling activity.