The Seoul Arts Center is a place of culture and complexity. The sprawling facilities include a wide array of museum halls, concert halls, and theaters for audiences to visit. If you haven’t gotten a chance, visit our article on Seoul Concert halls for more locations to look into for shows. At an impressive 276,800 square yards the SAC is by no means lacking in size. The SAC holds a wide array of performances annually ranging from music, dance, opera, musicals, and plays. They also hold over 100 exhibits and art programs drawing in over 2.5 million visitors every year. Comprised of five main buildings; Opera Hall, Music Hall, Hangaram Art Museum, Hangaram Design Museum and Seoul Calligraphy Art Museum, the SAC is always offering something new to experience. For more terrific museum options go here.
 
Kusama Yayoi’s work was on display at the Seoul Arts Center, Hangaram Art Museum, 700 Seocho-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul. Here is a full list of upcoming shows and exhibits. 

When the giant yellow pumpkin first started to appear in the streets of Seoul, curiosity kicked in real fast. Then, it was time. Time to see what Kusama Yayoi, an 80 year old Japanese artist, had to amaze us all with her colorful and unique vision of life, dreams and love. 

When you first enter, you end up facing giant red balloons, covered in white polka dots. You can enter some of those balloons and discover a whole new and deep dimension made of mirrors and more dots. You can also get a sneak peak at one of those cosmos-like dot worlds inside a smaller balloon, through a tiny round window. Giant flowers patched with giant dots are also waiting in their own room, in a corner, to offer you a warm and quiet moment away from the red dots and the crowd. Those flowers, and more specifically tulips, are another well-known symbol of Kusama. Being close to those huge and beautiful flowers, you feel like you have been transported to the other side of the mirror with Alice herself, walking around the garden. All you have left to do is to sing a pretty song.

Thus, the My Eternal Soul series take you even further into what Kusama sees and dreams of. When you look at her paintings, you feel like it’s going to absorb you, like you’re going to fall and drown in it and get transported to some wonderland where cheerfulness and love rule. This feeling of pleasant drowning, if such a feeling could be felt, is once more shared through the Love Forever room, where black and white paintings await. Dark but beautiful and hypnotizing paintings. And in the middle of this huge room, there is a box, a single box, with two tiny windows through which yet another dreamy world is offering itself to you, through the use of mirrors and light effects.

Before you move on to the next part of the exhibition, you are to enter a very small dark room which at first looks empty. But when you go in a bit further, an illuminated ladder is displayed, from ceiling to floor. At first, you feel like that’s it, just a ladder made of color-changing lights. Are you sure? Go on a bit closer… A mirror on the ceiling and another one on the floor make the ladder looks like it’s never ending, that you could go down to the center of the earth or to some flying castle awaiting in the clouds.

Pumpkins

Up to the second floor you are then bid to go. There, the famous yellow pumpkins are displayed. There are a total of three of them, sitting in a similar environment made of a yellow/mustard background peppered with black dots. The three pumpkins are of different sizes but even the smallest is really big and impressive. Once more, Kusama succeeded in making you feel like you’ve eaten one side of the mushroom and got shrunken. Kusama’s dogs are also presented here and there, in the form of colorful and cute sculptures. One dog, one color; from white to pink, from blue to red…
Polkadog
Kusama Yayoi may be the official artist and creator of those splendid works, but as a visitor, you can become an artist yourself. All you have to do is to take off your shoes and to enter the Obliteration Room, polka dots stickers at the ready. A sofa, shelves, books, a kitchen table and more are provided for your own enjoyment to stick colorful dots on them (or on yourself). Another room with all kind of furniture is also covered in dots, but this time, the room is in the dark and only the dots are to be seen. Those dots however colorful are glow-in-the-dark (just like you had the brilliant idea to wear white clothes on this very special day). The atmosphere and the feeling are different from the Obliteration Room, in a sense that it’s more relaxing, and where your eyes are more at ease.

Sculptures and paintings aren’t Kusama’s only talent. She can sing. For Song of Manhattan Suicide Addict, a video of the artist singing a lullaby in front of her work is projected against the white wall, and reflecting itself in infinity thanks to mirrors disposed on each side of the projection. Finally, for a couple of minutes you get to enter a cube where more mirrors and lights awaits and you can indeed feel infinite and feel how dreamy a starry sky could look if stars were made of thousands of colors.

Photos by LM & RL of SeoulSync.

Did you get a chance to see Kusama’s latest works? What’d you think?

About The Author

Laura Maniglier

Newly graduated with a Communication & Applied Foreign Languages master's degree, Laura has been living in Seoul for a year. She is from France, but has been to several countries to study and to work. Laura has got a strong interest for arts and cultural events, and truly enjoys living the Korean life. For pictures of her Korean adventures, you can follow her blog (mycupofkoreantea.tumblr.com).