Bizarre but Fun at the HAM

Last year the exhibit everyone was talking about was Yayoi Kusama at the Helsinki Art Museum (HAM). As the exhibition will soon move to other pastures, I had to make a point of going to see it one evening.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. In the end I was pleasantly surprised, as the display of Kusama’s work was both strange and cool at the same time.

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Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist who lives in a psychiatric hospital. Yes, you heard right! And the weirdest thing about it is that she checked herself into the facility.

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Kusama has had hallucinations since her childhood – one recurring subject has been pumpkins. There were several pumpkin-themed works at the exhibit.

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This was taken in the large installation – Mirror Room. There was a small opening through which you could see a sea of pumpkins.

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My favourite was the Infinity Mirrored Room – Hymn of Life. Kusama is famous for her polka dots.

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The path going through the installation had water on both sides of it, so you had to mind your step as not to end up in the water.

Downstairs, in Tennispalatsi, near the back entrance, I found the room below – The Obliteration Room. It was totally white at first but visitors have been encouraged to add colorful polka-dot stickers onto the furniture, floor and walls of the room – an interactive, slowly changing installation.

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Last but not least, I had a look at the Tove Jansson exhibit. Tove Jansson is the creator of the Moomins. I love the fresco below – Party in the City. This photo is quite small but if you strain your eyes, you might be able to spot a Moomin in it too.

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Unfortunately Yayoi Kusama’s In Infinity ends on the 22nd January but there’s still a few days left to catch it if you’re in Finland. I highly recommend it, as it’s a good distraction from everyday life.

Did you have a chance to catch Kusama’s exhibition at the HAM? If not, have you seen her work somewhere else ever before?

xx

24 thoughts on “Bizarre but Fun at the HAM

    1. Hi Marissa! Thank you for taking a moment to look at my post on the Kusama exhibit. I hope you get to go to the one in the US. If I’d had time, I would’ve liked to see this particular exhibit several times 😊

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      1. I have just gone to the US exhibition, actually! I wrote a blog post about it here: https://museummermaid.com/2017/03/06/infinity-lines-museum-mermaid-glimpses-yayoi-kusamas-infinity-mirrors/

        I will also require at least one more visit to Infinity Mirrors in order to feel that I have seen it all and experienced it in the way I want. Her work gives off such a meditative vibe, I think it deserves slow and careful consideration.

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  1. What an interesting exhibition!! I could see that at the beginning, I would have started out with some reservations, but it is SOOOO different – and colourful – you can’t help but get into the mood. Great idea to add the video.

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  2. love all the pics. i think i’ve seen photos of another installation of “The Obliteration Room” somewhere.

    What are the white things with red (pink?) polka dots? Could you walk through them?

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    1. Haha, you don’t want to know what those white things with red dots are!! The artist is/was obsessed with sex among other things.. to give you a clue. There was a small path inside and mirrors on all sides but you couldn’t walk all the way through. People were let in the room for a few minutes to take photos or just look around.

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  3. I’ve heard about Kusama before. So cool that you got to see an exhibit. Since moving to the US I haven’t been able to go to art exhibits as often as I used to in São Paulo. That said, there’s a really good art museum here in Sacramento. This has motivated me to go there. 😁

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    1. So great to hear Camila! I will look forward to photos 🙂 I have a Museum Card which gives me admission to almost all museums for a year with the price of the card. It’s a great deal and motivates me to go too!

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  4. What a coincidence; I just found out about this artist when someone posted it on my FB a couple of days ago, and now you’re blogging about it. It’s good that she managed to use art as a means of expression. Thanks for sharing these wonderful snaps!

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