Last week I had the privilege of seeing Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at the Seattle Art Museum. Magic comes in many forms. And art has always been, for me, a form in which I not only find magic, but also create magic. It is from that place that I fell in love with Kusama’s work years ago, and from that place that I focused on experiencing her work in person.
I come to Kusama’s work from this place because her work is so deeply rooted in her mental health/ dis-ease (a root devastatingly erased in the Infinity Mirrors exhibit). She, herself, has said “By translating hallucinations and fear of hallucinations into painting, I have been trying to cure my disease.” As someone who navigates living with depression and anxiety, and as someone who uses art, magic, and art as magic to navigate that terrain, Kusama’s work means so very much, so very deeply.
I felt so much joy standing in her infinity rooms, especially in Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity + Dots Obsession–Love Transformed into Dots. And that is how magic works. It transforms our reality and us. I wanted to be reminded of this long after the exhibit was over. And I knew there was a spell in there somewhere.
As we left the exhibit I stopped by the gift shop, not intending to leave with anything. But then I saw a pair of polka dot socks (I am a huge sucker for socks) and treated myself. When I got home I wiggled small pieces of clear quartz (alternately, I could have taken out a little bit of the seam and sewed it back up once the quartz was in place) into the seams, so they rest behind my knee when the socks are on. Wearing them reminds me of the joy I can strive for and sometimes find. The clear quartz amplifies these intentions. It’s a simple standard spell, sewing trinkets or herbs into the seams of clothing, but effective. So here’s to polka-dots + magic socks!