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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Review - Yayoi Kusama; you, me and the balloons at factory international

REVIEW BY Steve Griffiths


Yayoi Kusama; you, me and the balloons at factory international 30 june-28 august.



You’re never too old to be an artist could be the strap line for this art installation at the new Manchester venue. Still under construction, the Aviva named building, is host to a series of plastic objects curated for the Japanese artist who was born in 1928. So for those receiving the benefits of a pension the message is clearly get creating.


As she is. The collection of spotted constructions is a gathering together of her work over several years. Its tremendously popular so that groups of 50 people are allowed in a timed fashion to enable the sense of space and grandeur to be fully appreciated. People who know the work of Paula rego may see some similarities in the use of large dolls ,But to the children in the exhibition these are great fun rather than a homage to another artist.


The artist has been in an institution for many years but this does not stop her creating spectacular shapes and spotted colours. My first thought was that they reminded me of large crocodiles or tropical snakes ; but largely benign ones which could be cuddled rather than run away from.


The new spacious building is ideal for displaying and showcasing structures like these. It allows a large group of visitors to enjoy the feeling that they are able to contemplate the balloons- her words- without being pushed on her way. It allows an opportunity to think about the words she uses about her creations


‘Our earth is only one polka dot amongst a million stars in the cosmos. Polka dots are a way to infinity’


Which allows her to provide a small private space with balloons dotted around in front of a series of mirrors which reflect to infinity. Sadly this is the exhibit with a queue but its well worth the wait .


Sadly for the internal child in most of us its not possible to touch most of the objects . Clouds does , surprisingly, provide this opportunity which is taken by the happy children in the exhibition.


So if you are a parent with children looking to give them some fun get down to factory international building in Water Street Manchester. The coffee is good as well.




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