Review: Infinity Mirrors at the AGO

Installed over a year ago, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors is still captivating visitors to the Art Gallery of Toronto as a permanent installation on the second floor of the gallery.

After the huge success of the Infinity Mirrors Exhibition the AGO decided that it was necessary to include some of the exhibition in its permanent collection. The AGO crowdfunded over C$650,000 from almost 5,000 donors to purchase Infinity Mirrors for their collection.

Access to the installation is limited––visitors must sign up for a time slot on an iPad near the entrance on the first floor. There is usually a gallery attendant there to help you choose your time slot. Once it’s your entrance time make your way to the queue on the second floor, where you’ll check your bags and prepare for what is to come (I took a few deep breaths and wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans).

The gallery attendant will instruct you on the procedures while you’re waiting to get inside. You can spend up to one minute in the room. Don’t touch anything. Get your selfie camera ready.

The door opens and your sixty seconds begin.

Your first thought will likely be, ‘wow this room is small.’ But don’t linger on that fact. Make the most of your time inside of the installation.

The tiny hexagonal shaped room is filled wall to ceiling with huge mirrors and hundreds of orbs suspended from the ceiling and sitting on the ground. Each shiny surface reflects off of the next and you’ll quickly be entranced by the countless reflections in the mirrors.

Centrally located is a column covered in mirrors to reflect the outer perimeter of the room.

Kusama has installed less than twenty rooms like Infinity Mirrors globally, so having one in Toronto is incredible.

Mentioning any of Kusama’s works is basically impossible without referring to ‘selfies,’ ‘social media,’ or ‘millennials.’ To some, it may seem as if her installations are catered to what many refer to the so called narcissist tendencies of millennials.

However, I see no problems whatsoever with art being a site for tourism (shout out to The Lightning Field and other art works in the American West that often function as tourist sites). We should be celebrating the fact that so many young people are visiting museums. More visitors to museums means that they get more funding from donors and the government. That means better care for the permanent collection and more funding for one of a kind traveling exhibitions.

Even better, Infinity Mirrors is free to all ticketed members to the AGO. Those under the age of 25 can enter the AGO for free, and those who are older can pay a flat fee of C$35 per year to visit the gallery.

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