Brazil’s Inhotim Institute opens dedicated Yayoi Kusama gallery

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The Inhotim Institute, the contemporary art centre founded by mega-collector Bernardo Paz near Belo Horizonte, Brazil, recently inaugurated a gallery devoted to the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

The new permanent display, the 20th gallery on the institute’s verdant campus, features two Kusama installations from Inhotim’s collection: I’m Here, But Nothing (2000), a generic domestic interior covered in small neon dots and lit exclusively by black lights; and Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009), one of the artist’s viral mirrored rooms, which features glowing lanterns suspended in a seemingly infinite space. Inhotim acquired the former in 2008 and the latter in 2009. Another Kusama work from the institute’s collection, the mirror-ball installation Narcissus Garden (1966/2009), is installed outdoors nearby.

Yayoi Kusama, I’m Here, But Nothing (2000) Daniel Mansur. Courtesy Inhotim Institute

“Each work embodies a distinctly different environmental expression of the artist’s creative universe: the optical transformation of a darkened room into a psychological place of sensory overload; a contemplative infinity room; and a garden of suspended flotation composed of countless metallic spheres hovering above the natural landscape of Inhotim,” Allan Schwartzman, the institute’s co-founder, said in a statement. “Galeria Yayoi Kusama embodies the highest goals of Inhotim to provide unique environments for the experience of exceptional large-scale artworks for a wide-ranging and diverse audience.”

The new Kusama building at Inhotim, Galeria Yayoi Kusama, was originally scheduled to open in 2020, the year Paz was acquitted of money laundering charges related to the art centre’s finances.

The exterior of Galeria Yayoi Kusama at Instituto Inhotim Ícaro Moreno

The new building was designed by the architects Fernando Maculan and Maria Paz. It spans more than 15,000 sq. ft and features a lushly planted garden at its main entrance, which is partially shaded by a large canopy that covers a large arrivals area. “Given the importance of Yayoi Kusama’s work and its well known appeal to large audiences, the gallery’s project calls for a spacious waiting and preparation space,” the architects said in a statement.

The popularity of Kusama’s installations—fueled in part by highly visible collaborations, like a recent Louis Vuitton campaign—have made her exhibitions guaranteed blockbusters. Her mirror installations in particular are known to draw hours-long queues.

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