A permanent installation at Phoenix Art Museum,Yayoi Kusama’s You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies (2005) is one of the artist's more whimsical works. Inspired by a Japanese folk tale about a person in a field with 10,000 fireflies, Kusama's work brings the fairy tale to life. The piece is a dark room lined with mirrors on every surface and strands of looping LED lighting suspended from the ceiling. This deceptively small room feels as if it’s a vast, infinite galaxy of lighting and allows the viewer to enter and be surrounded, or obliterated by Kusama’s fireflies.
Beginning with drawings and paintings, Yayoi Kusama’s work transformed from 2-D pieces to large-scale installations, symbolic of the obsessive and massive nature of her ideas. Kusama describes this sensation in an interview, “my brush unconsciously went beyond the bounds of the canvas and began to cover the table, then the floor, and all over the room…” (The Uses of Sidewalks: Women, Art, and Urban Space, 1966-1980). Subsequently, Kusama’s art began to take large forms and often covers and utilizes entire rooms and spaces.
Yayoi Kusama, You Who are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies, 2005.
Mixed media installation with LED lights.
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds provided by Jan and Howard Hendler.