Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has made her Saudi Arabian debut with one of her mirrored “infinity rooms” available to visit at AlUla’s Maraya Concert Hall.
The installation at AlUla, titled “Infinity Mirrored Room — Brilliance of the Souls,” is deceptively small at first. A totally reflective space with water surrounding a small platform on the ground for visitors to stand on, observers are instantly immersed in a different, ethereal world once the door closes behind them.
Spheres of multicolored light hang at different heights and intervals from the ceiling, bringing to mind stars, planets and galaxies from afar. The viewer is insulated from the outside world, and the space transforms from a confined room barely big enough for two people to an unending wonder.
The exhibit makes for a perfect place to take an ethereal, otherworldly selfie, as demonstrated by many of its visitors, such as Finnish resident Laura Alho, known online as “blueabaya.” Alho took to Twitter to post photos of her experience, saying she had “never seen anything like it.”
The concert hall itself is also covered in mirrors on the outside, designed with the intention of blending into the surrounding rocky landscape of AlUla without disrupting the natural beauty of the location.
Kusama, a 90-year-old artist from Matsumoto, is widely acknowledged as one of the most important contemporary Japanese creatives. Though she works primarily through sculpture and installation, she also paints, contributes to film and performance art, and dabbles in poetry, fiction, and fashion. She is famous for her conceptual art, which shows attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, art brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism.
At the age of 10, she began to experience vivid hallucinations which consisted of dense fields of dots, which inspired the Infinity Mirrored Rooms that she is most well-known for. As a way of therapy and self-expression, Kusama began creating these spaces with mirrored walls and multiple dots incorporated into the designs.
Kusama’s work is showcased at museums throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. There are 10 permanent Infinity Mirrored Rooms in museums worldwide, with several temporary showcases leased to various others. People have reportedly lined up for as long as five hours just to be allowed inside one for 30 seconds.
Interested parties can visit the Infinity Mirrored Room as part of the Winter at Tantora festival, taking place in AlUla until March 20. Access to the room is free to concertgoers with a ticket, details of which can be found at experiencealula.com.