July 8, 2016
The exhibit comprises two ”infinity rooms” Kusama constructed. The rooms’ walls, ceilings and floors are either mirrors or other reflective surfaces, creating the illusion that everything inside the room repeats in an infinite amount of space.
Vertigo-inducing? Sure. What Kusama probably doesn’t realize is that a bathroom in my home has mirrors that span from the top of the room to the bottom, making for an incredibly distracting experience when someone attempts to do their business.
So when I heard that MFAH opened an installation full of mirror-enclosed rooms, I was reluctant to pay money to see what was in my very own home. My judgment couldn’t have been more wrong. More wrong as the most wrong my life had ever led me to be.
The first infinity room, titled “Love is Calling,” features glow-in-the-dark tentacles that constantly change color and reach from the ceiling and the floor. Kusama’s recital of her poem, “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears,” echoes around the room.
(Sadde captures senior Matthew Fastow in the room’s surroundings).
A torrent of different colors bombarded my eyes the moment the door opened; the blur of red, green, blue and yellow lights all struck me as overdone and a bit tacky. Kusama’s surprisingly harsh and cold-sounding voice as she read her love poem slammed against my ears instead of sweetly dripping into them.
After reeling from the initial shock, it was time to reevaluate and reflect on what everything meant (with Kusama blaring in my ears and all around me). After all, it’s all too possible that our definitions of love differ ― which is exactly the point of “Love is Calling.” The installation gives a peek into Kusama’s distinct definition of love.
Upon closer look, I noted how gently the colors changed, reaching out tenderly for one another. In this way, Kusama communicated a fundamental part of love: two entities grow towards each other to achieve a state of connectedness and completeness.
While the tentacles portray the positive aspects love, Kusama’s poem conveys its difficulties. Her poem is more blunt than I would expect, but it is rooted in her belief that love is not clean-cut or constant. Problems arise in relationships, and they need to be worked out.
Bearing all of this in mind, my opinion of “Kusama: At the End of the Universe” shifted from doubtful to tremendous. Even more exciting yet, I still hadn’t experienced the final installment.