I have been in Toronto for almost a month now and although there’s been no shortage of stuff to write about, I have lost the urge somehow. When I started this blog in 2012, I had just moved to Rome and it was a way of allowing my family and friends to get a glimpse of my life there. I started it with some trepidation thinking that I would have nothing more to say after a month or so. Six years later, I’m still here! I’m not sure how many people read my posts as I don’t bother to check the statistics. However, I get messages from a couple of readers so I know that there are, hopefully, at least half a dozen and maybe they will tell me if I should continue………
So Toronto was awfully cold when I arrived with ice on the ground and freezing rain. The trees were barren and bleak as you can see in the photo. However, spring has come and the trees have burst into leaf, cherry blossoms and magnolias in flower. Tulips and daffodils in full flower and there’s a wonderful fragrance of earth and fresh growth in the air. Not warm enough to sit out but perhaps soon. In any case, I will be back in Rome in a couple of days and it will definitely be warm enough to sit out there.
I saw two interesting exhibitions in the last couple of weeks, both by Japanese artists but at opposite ends of the spectrum. The first was an exhibition of silk kimonos at the Textile Museum made by Itchiku Kubota who was born in 1917 and was productive until he died in 2003. His kimonos are works of art rather than to be worn and he revived a decorative technique called tsujigahana, a combination of ink drawing and resist dyeing. The photo shows a series of kimonos depicting the seasons. The painstaking work involved was unbelievable.
The other exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario was by Yayoi Kusama a contemporary artist now close to 80 years and still creating art. The exhibition was entitled ‘Infinity Rooms’ and had a series of rooms in which images were reflected in mirrors to infinity. Hard to describe but you step into a tiny dark room, about the size of a small bathroom but the feeling is of infinite space. I had seen one of these in an exhibition in Rome a couple of years ago and I took a photo. It was featured in the exhibition here but photos of this piece were not permitted here for some reason so I’m posting the one I took in Rome so you can see it. It depicts pumpkins covered in black polka dots. Kusama has an obsession with polka dots and they feature in many of her works. In the last couple of years Marc Jacobs used her polka dot designs for Louis Vuitton bags so if you see someone carrying a polka dot bag, remember Yayoi Kusama.
One room really gave the sense of being in infinite space. There seemed to be just twinkling lights in a vast space even though you were standing in a room the size of a walk-in closet.
The exhibition has been extremely popular and tickets were sold out weeks ago. The viewing times have been extended and now there are only a certain number of tickets given out on the day. I joined the queue at 8 am last week and was lucky to get a ticket by 10 am. I’m not quite sure why the exhibition has been more popular than any previous show but the AGO must be absolutely delighted.