Yayoi Kusama at Manchester International Festival

The increasing popularity of Yayoi Kusama over the past two decades is a fascinating phenomenon. Her 2004 exhibition at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo may have been the catalyst for this. Two things occurred during the exhibition that contributed to her success. Firstly, her work began exploring cuteness or kawaii, appealing to a broader audience outside the art world. Secondly, the audience started taking photos of her art using their mobile phones. This was before Facebook and Instagram, but it marked the beginning of her work being widely shared.

Fast forward 19 years, and Yayoi Kusama is the headlining artist for the 2023 Manchester International Festival. Her installation has taken over the Aviva Studios, and it has become incredibly popular with bookings required, and time slots allocated. Upon entering the space, visitors are greeted by the overwhelming scale of the installation, which is the largest of its kind that I have ever seen. The visitors are free to explore and immerse themselves in an otherworldly experience while listening to a recording of Yayoi Kusama singing.

Of course, everyone takes photos on their phones, including myself. The installation is a truly beautiful place that one cannot help but capture its magnificence.

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