The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away is a work that exists in room where the inner surface of the walls are mirrors. This creates an effect that essentially extends the space of the room to infinity because of the light that keeps getting reflected back and forth. LEDs hang from the rooms ceiling which are also reflected into the infinite space, encompassing the viewer in what visually resembles a galaxy.
Kusama Yayoi was born in 1929 and has been living in a hospital for the mentally ill since the 1970s. She has once said, “Before I go to sleep I’m so exhausted I could die. But then around three in the morning I wake up and start drawing or writing again”, which describes her current stage in life that teeters between life and death (Knight). The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away is an example of Yayoi’s embracing and exploration of the afterlife and spirituality.
Being placed on a floating platform which is also reflected into infinity, creates a grid of participants that extend forever. Even though the piece can only be viewed individually, there will always be a crowd ready to stare back into your eyes. Also, the way the lights flicker on and off in a space so inconceivably great is a humbling experience.
Death is an inevitable outcome. It can be a frightening experience to think about because it is so unknown to us, but we have many different ways to cope with death, and what happens afterwards. The position in her life that Yayoi represents through her work is a unique outlook on what one can expect when one closes their eyes without expecting them to open again.
Knight, Sophie. “Yayoi Kusama to Exhibit in London: At 85, ‘the Ideas Just Keep Coming'” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 09 Apr. 2015.