Yayoi Kusama Museum in Jakarta

by - January 05, 2021

Hi guys! Have you heard about Museum Macan (Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara) before the art exhibition of Yayoi Kusama? If you have not, well, don't worry you are not alone! I was fortunate enough to visit the Jakarta, Indonesia while the Yayoi Kasuma - Life is the Heart of the Rainbow was in the exhibition. I decided to visit the museum without giving much thought to what I would actually see.

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara or Museum MACAN is an art museum at Kebon Jeruk in Jakarta, Indonesia. The museum is the first in Indonesia to have a collection of modern and contemporary Indonesian and international art. It has a display area of about 4,000 square meters. The museum is included in a list of the World’s 100 Greatest Places 2018 released by Time magazine.

Museum MACAN opened in November 2017. The museum displays around 90 works from a collection totaling 800 modern Indonesian and contemporary artworks from around the world including 'Infinity Mirrored Room' by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Before entering the museum, you will pass the ticket checking gate first, and the security will check your belongings. Make sure you start by reading Yayoi Kusama biography wall to get to know her before you step into her work and awe. The exhibition traces the development of artistic concepts that are fundamental to Kusama’s vision, including infinity, repetition, and self-obliteration.

Yayoi Kusama is labeled as The Queen of Polka Dot since most of her artworks dominate the pattern. Born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan, Kusama began painting as a small child and, against her parent's wishes. She was born to a well-established conservative family that owned a seed nursery business and she spent her childhood surrounded by her family’s seed harvesting grounds. Frustrated with the oppression she felt from conservative Japanese society, she moved to New York to continue pursuing art and eventually became a key fixture in the Pop Art movement with her provocative exhibitions and demonstrations.

Below are some amazing artworks you’ll see at the exhibition! The exterior of the building is a sight to behold! The first things that I saw were big yellow balloons with black dots.

Museum Macan has elevators for visitors that might have certain disabilities.

The flowers that bloom at midnight.

Hymn of life: Tulips by Yayoi Kusama.

Pumpkin is one of Kusama's first forays into outdoor sculpture. The giant, yellow pumpkin sculpture is painted with rows of black dots fanning out from large to small around the gourd.

Infinity Mirrored Room was created by Yayoi Kusama. This installation is a mirror-lined chamber with flashing LED lights that viewers look into. You could only bring your pocket and smartphone inside, other than that should be kept on a deposit counter. 

Since this attraction was very popular there were long queues and everyone is only allowed for 30 seconds to have an opportunity to visit and take a photo. You will have to get the perfect shot quickly, before the door opens and mark your time out. You can also return to have a second or third chance inside, but you will have to go back to the queue in the line again.

My Eternal Soul exhibition features 132 paintings from Kusama's “My Eternal Soul” series that she embarked on in 2009.

There are numerous works that cover the special exhibition galleries. Some of the exhibitions included the iconic dots, infinity rooms, pumpkins, and artwork. In the middle of the hall are sculptures, painted in vibrant lively hues and decorated with colorful dots. The works feel playful, depicting abstract scapes of soft-edged forms and patterns, among others.

Yayoi Kusama works with a marker pen to release these works, which permits greater precision with the fine lines and minute details in her markings. Her compositions fill the entire canvas with meticulous attention to form. No space that could be filled is overlooked.

As I had never heard of Yayoi Kusuma before now I was totally knocked out by the sheer beauty of her work. If you like art, this is a great place to visit. This collection will be a delight to you.

Yayoi Kusama: All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins.

Thousands of illuminated colours blinking at the speed of light.

Yayoi Kasuma has an amazing room which started out as white but as everyone adds stickers the room has taken a magical turn. The obliteration room is also limited to a number of people each time and you can take as many photos as your heart desires.

In the obliteration room, Yayoi Kusama provides colorful and different sizes dot stickers that visitors can use to eliminate the traces of the original white room through the act of communal “obliteration.” You may stick them onto the walls, your clothes or your face and other objects in the all-white room.

We passed by “Narcissus Garden” which was 1,500 oversized stainless steel balls spread out on the floor.

Dots obsession–love transformed into dots.

The Spirits of the Pumpkins Descended into the Heavens.

Yayoi Kusama's 'Pollen' at Museum MACAN (1986, Sewn stuffed fabric, synthetic fiber, and paint. Collection of Ota Fine Arts).

A short video inside a small theatre, where you can sit down and listen to Yayoi Kusama singing her original song. Song of a Manhattan Suicide Addict installation view. The poem was adapted into a song and video art in 2010. She is also mentioned in her autobiography that she used to be scared of death because she saw it as something far away, but then it dawned on her that death could be just like 'stepping into the room next door.' Life is the Heart of a Rainbow means making art makes her no longer fear death. She overcame her fear of death by continuing to make art that can withstand time.

She has this incredible ability to create enchanting artwork of many variations with just the dots. There is no trial and error in her work, no stimulation or test, what she paints is in one go.

Leftover snow in the dream. When Yayoi Kusama was young, she was made by her mother to spy on her father who was at that time having extra-marital affairs. This trauma was what caused the artist to develop a phobia towards man and sex. Ironically, when Yayoi Kusama started making soft sculpture, they often took the form of phallic shapes, such as this leftover snow in the dream – stuffed cushion, sewn and painted in white, taking the form of phallic.

Museum Macan also has a small exhibition by Gatot Indrajati, an installation that called Kotak Utak-Atik or Children’s Art Space. All children have to be accompanied by one adult to enjoy the space.

Overall, after spending the entire afternoon here, I must say that I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the crowd however it’s an interesting place to visit because there were so many different things to see and so many different types of art. Yayoi Kusama’s “life is the heart of a rainbow” was definitely the highlight of my recent Jakarta trip. The architecture is amazing and the artworks are very accessible and varied.

That's all for my trip to Museum Macan (Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara). I hope you guys really enjoy reading my post about the Yayoi Kusama life is the heart of a rainbow at Museum Macan in Jakarta, as I really spent a lot of time and effort to prepare the materials and editing! See you in my next post!

For more detailed information, you can go to:

Telephone : +62 21 2212 1888

AKR Tower, Level MM. JalanPanjang No.5 KebonJeruk, Jakarta Barat 11530, Indonesia

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