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‘You, Me and the Balloons’ Opens in Manchester

Yayoi Kusama’s show of joyful inflatables entitled ‘You, Me and the Balloons’ unites artworks from the last 30 years at Aviva Studios, Manchester.

A major new exhibition from Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has opened as part of Manchester International Festival 2023. ‘You, Me and the Balloons’, Kusama’s largest project to date, is the first to be exhibited inside Factory International’s flagship new venue, Aviva Studios, in Manchester.

It marks the first time many of Kusama’s works have been exhibited together, most of which have never been seen before in the UK. Works, including 2019’s maze of balloons, The Hope of the Polka Dots Buried in Infinity will Eternally Cover the Universe, and 2013’s Dots Obsession, encourage guests to immerse themselves in Kusama’s fantastical world.

‘It would be interesting if people would experience the show as a wonderland,’ says Kusama in the exhibition catalogue. ‘The experience of the scale is what’s important. Inflatable works expanded my creative means in terms of scale that could not have been achieved by stuffed soft sculptures, and the freedom of placing them up in the air. For me, the world is genuinely full of surprises. It is not that I want to inspire a childlike awe or wonder, but to inspire through my genuine perception of the world.’

‘You, Me and the Balloons’ joins city-wide installation The Find by Ryan Gander, the first commission in a project discovering links in art and football by former Manchester United footballer Juan Mata and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and a live photographic performance by British photographer Benji Reid, in an eclectic curation for the Manchester International Festival 2023 programme.

‘You, Me & the Balloons’ is presented as part of Manchester International Festival 2023, which returns to the city from 29 June to 16 July.


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