Ha, I bet you didn’t take me as a pink, polka dot kind of person! Well, there you see, the liberating and mind expanding effects art can have.…
It was out of a sense of cultural duty, and dragging my feet, that I went to the opening exhibit in the brand-new Wiels-centre of contemporary arts in Brussels (housed in a former brewery).
I mean, an obscure (to ignorant me, that is) Japanese Icon of Sixties Pop-Art and Fluxus movement. An installation of pink balloons, an artistic oeuvre inspired by a crazy obsession for polka dots? What could that kind of irrelevant tripping possibly teach me about the state of the world, the depths of the soul, or the intricate beauties of the senses? These woolly frivolous creative hippie sixties types …. Polka dots! ?!! Pink Balloons????No really ….
Well …. I must say … there I was, drawn into a fairy-tale… as anxious and obsessive and primal and enchanting as fairy-tales go.
Imagine a huge white industrial space, lit by a golden afternoon sun. Entirely filled by giant pink inflatable balloons, covered by black polka dots. And some of the balloons you could enter, seeing yourself endlessly reflected along with even more polka dotted balloons….
Yes, there I was, slaloming and dancing amongst the balloons – dazed and dazzled – and happy, I guess.
And then moved, when I read about the artist, Yayoi Kusama, who for 40 years obsessively has filled an entire aesthetical universe with polka dots. Tormented by neuroses and anxieties. Living, since 1972, in an apartment in a psychiatric hospital in Japan. And still working, still inventing, still piloting exhibits of her work. Well cared for, there in her hospital, I hope. And happy among her dots, I hope.
(*) Yayoi Kusama, Obliteration Manifesto, 1960