Visiting Exhibits in Shanghai – Yayoi Kusama and teamLab

I am spending more than a month in Shanghai and I decided to scout some visiting exhibits and see if it’s worth it for my sisters to visit (because they are quite pricey, and since Shanghai has almost the same number of the whole of Australia, places tend to be really crowded on weekends).

I have never actually been to a Yayoi Kusama exhibit before, even though she had exhibits in Taiwan back when I was living there. I am not actually a fan of her work, although I was quite curious about her Obliteration Room, because of it’s interactivity (it’s basically a white room, where guests can put colorful polka dot stickers anywhere you want, so the exhibit builds over time).

The exhibit in Shanghai is called “Yayoi Kusama: All About Love Speaks Forever” and its in middle of nowhere BFC (you have to walk quite a bit from the MRT station).

My sisters (one is an interior designer, the other is a graphic designer, both working in Shanghai) recently told me about this term DP, which stands for Display Point, which basically means spots in public spaces, such as malls and retail stores, that are designed specifically to be photographed (for Instagram or some China version of Instagram).

The Yayoi Kusama exhibit seems to me to be just DPs (not a lot even, like stretching it at four). Its basically for selfie and not much else. There are some artworks and one sculpture, but it’s only in this tiny room. I spend longer time commuting to exhibit than actually in the exhibit (well, for one, the mirror room has a 45 seconds time limit, so better take those selfies quick).

After the exhibit I went to the coffee shop nearby and had a cake that looks like the polka dotted pumpkins that was good and pretty cute.

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Stitch x Yayoi Kusama

A post shared by my name is stitch (@stitchtravels) on

Is it worth it to go to this exhibit? I’d say no (especially if you are free only on weekends and you’d have a hard time taking a selfie while avoiding groups of people).

But if you’d still want to check it out, here’s the link:

Link: https://www.thatsmags.com/shanghai/event/detail/59195

Another exhibit I went to is by teamLab called: “Universe of Water Particles in the Tank” (okay, the title is a little weird, but it’s actually because it’s set in this museum that use to be oil tanks).

Now this exhibit on has two DPs and 3 artworks.

But the first DP or the first room is set in the old oil tank, so it’s huge and cylindrical, and actually quite impressive. It’s an evolving scene with water and flowers and they interact with you, like water avoid you as it flows and flowers grow next to you, sunflowers bloom and die. The music (if you ignore the chatter of other people) really sets the mood as well. You can spend hours in there just staring at the scene (actually, I don’t think they’ll let you stay there for hours).

You can also check out my Instagram stories for more clips:

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17861062663363098/

The second room is just waves, computer generated waves that ebbs and flows and crashes into nothing. I’m not too sure if this reacts with you (I tried to play with it, but it didn’t seem like it did).

In the second room, there are also 3 artworks, which are also computer generated animations.

The first two are cherry blossoms themed (so it’s basically cherry blossom petal particles, remember how you can add those to your websites?).

But I really like cherry blossoms and mono no aware, which is about impermanence and how precious life is (I guess).

The other artwork is a continuous stroke but in 3D, and it looks cool.

Is this one worth it? I’m not sure, because it’s actually more expensive on weekends (and weekends means more people and you might not enjoy it if it’s too crowded). But I liked it (or maybe because I’m biased with the computer generated aspect of it, even if I know how it’s executed).

If you want to check it out, here’s the link (oh, this new museum is also in the middle of nowhere):

Link: https://www.teamlab.art/e/tankshanghai2019/

It’s interesting how exhibits nowadays are shifting from a passive audience to an active audience that wants to interact and take photos of themselves with artworks.

Even though I’ve been to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (fun fact: no photos allowed in that one), but I am very tempted to travel to Hong Kong to visit the Van Gogh Alive exhibit (also immersive, probably great for selfies).

Link: https://www.vangoghalive.hk/

Do you know that there are more selfies of Mona Lisa then photos of the artwork itself? I think social media changed the way people consume content. Like I visited these exhibits, and I would do Instagram stories and take selfies and use hashtags and tag the location, and my friends would comment and ask me where is the exhibit or until when it will be, so they can also go take their own selfies.

This are all fine and but what does it mean for media arts culture? (insert thinking emoji 🤔)

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