Craving inspiration? Gropius Bau can help with that. First up, the museum is taking us on a journey through Yayoi Kusama’s mind (until 15.08.2021). Born in 1929, Kusama is the artist who brought immersive installation art into the 21st century. Her work is now being celebrated in a retrospective exhibition that is curated chronologically, following the Japanese artist’s work between 1952-2021. As soon as you enter the doors to the exhibition you are greeted with huge shoots of bright pink and black inflated forms which reach up two floors to the ceiling of the main hall. This impressive entrance sets the tone for the exhibition, which features 300 works across twenty rooms that put you right inside Kusama’s mind. The famous mirror installations are on show, including “Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field (or Floor Show)”, where an intimate room is filled with stuffed sculptures in red and white and mirrors that surround you. This feeling of encapsulation and endlessness carries on throughout the show.
For “Infinity Mirror Room – Love Forever”, for instance, you place your head through a small window and find yourself immersed in a never-ending light show. Similarly striking is the beloved dotted pumpkin installation and Kusama’s newest piece, “Infinity Mirrored Room – the Eternally Infinite Light of the Universe Illuminating the Quest for Truth”, made especially for this show. The installation has a futuristic feel, with more mirrors and ever-changing multicolored lights attached to metal poles which bend in and around the space… Once again you, the viewer, are placed in the piece. An altogether inspiring experience, this show allows you to fully understand Yayoi’s mind and talents as an artist. But that’s not all Gropuis Bau has on offer: visitors are being spoiled with the Hella Jongerius: Woven Cosmos exhibition (until 15.08.2021) offering a look at the Dutch designer’s huge body of work. Like Kusama’s installations, this exhibition offers visitors an interactive experience. Themes of experimentation, finding new approaches and processes, and the interplay of tradition and today are ever present. Jongerius’s lab is physically part of the exhibition, offering an insight into the artist’s way of thinking. As you walk through, pieces are being woven on site while woven “sketches”, hanging ropes and colored cotton clouds that hang above your head are spinning, creating threads. All this is accompanied by larger sculptures taking you on a journey into weaving and materiality. It’s been a long time since we have been able to fully indulge in culture and find inspiration in Berlin’s arts institutions, so why not spend the day at Gropius Bau taking in both these landmark shows.
Text: Lottie Mac / Credit: Gropius Bau, Hella Jongerius, VG-Bildkunst 2021; Yayoi Kusama, Courtesy: Ota Fine Arts / Photos: Laura Fiorio & Luca Girardini
Tickets for Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective (until 15.08.2021) and Hella Jongerius: Woven Cosmos (until 15.08.2021) can be purchased online.
Gropius Bau, Niederkirchnerstr.7, 10963 Berlin–Kreuzberg; map
Yayoi Kusama Wed–Mon 9–21h & all other exhibitions Wed–Mon 10–19h Tue closed