Up, Up and Away with Yayoi Kusama: You, Me and the Balloons at Factory International

As summer unfolds, Factory International in Manchester prepares to welcome one of the most beloved artists of our era. Celebrated Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, is set to unveil her most expansive immersive environment to date. Aptly titled “Yayoi Kusama – You, Me and the Balloons”, this exhibition is not just a display of Kusama’s signature artistry, but also a celebration of her pioneering journey with inflatable artworks over the past three decades.

Kusama’s name is synonymous with a surrealistic and vibrant world of polka dots, pumpkins, giant dolls, and other visually striking motifs. Her artistry transcends the conventional realms of painting and sculpture, venturing into immersive environments that engulf the viewer into a psychedelic cosmos of her creation. This exhibition, specially conceived for the grandeur of Factory International, pulls together, for the first time, a comprehensive collection of Kusama’s inflatable artworks.

Navigating through the exhibition, visitors will find themselves amidst Kusama’s hallucinatory landscapes, some towering over 10 meters tall. The spectacle of giant dolls, complex tendrilled environments, and a seemingly infinite constellation of polka-dot spheres offer an awe-inspiring journey into the depths of Kusama’s artistic mind.

Known for her distinctive Infinity Mirror Rooms, Kusama has a unique capacity to engender a sense of wonder while also provoking profound contemplation about our existence. Her immersive environments are not mere spectacles; they are transformative spaces that invite viewers to move beyond their selves, to feel interconnected with something greater, something cosmic. This ability to emotionally and mentally engage her audience is the reason why millions of people around the globe queue for hours, just to spend a fleeting moment within Kusama’s universe.

Spanning eight decades, Kusama’s career has been a remarkable journey of artistic evolution. From her early works in Japan to her current status as a global phenomenon, she has consistently pushed the boundaries of contemporary art. In “Yayoi Kusama – You, Me and the Balloons”, visitors have the chance to experience the vastness and depth of her playful, kaleidoscopic universe.

To step into Kusama’s exhibition is to embark on a journey that is as much about exploring the boundaries of art as it is about exploring our own existence. Kusama’s art is a mirror that reflects back to us the interconnectedness of all things, the beauty in the abstract, and the profound truth that we are all part of a greater cosmos. As we walk amongst the balloons, we are not merely observers but active participants in Kusama’s artistic vision.

This exhibition is not just a celebration of Kusama’s artistic prowess; it is a testament to her ability to transform spaces into portals of self-reflection and shared human experience. “Yayoi Kusama – You, Me and the Balloons” invites us to immerse ourselves in a world of vibrant color, fascinating patterns, and intriguing forms, offering us a chance to not just witness, but experience art in its most captivating and transformative form.



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