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MIF23 introduces late night opening for Kusama’s You, Me and the Balloons exhibition to meet demand

You, Me and the Balloons, photo David Levene/MIF23

Manchester International Festival has extended the opening hours of Yayoi Kusama’s You, Me and the Balloons exhibition “due to popular demand.”

Tens of thousands of people have visited the major new installation by the celebrated Japanese artist and had the chance to see inside Aviva Studios, Factory International’s flagship new venue, ahead of its official opening in October.

From Friday, August 4, visitors will be able to experience Kusama’s largest and most ambitious immersive environment to date on Friday and Saturday evenings, with tickets now available from 7.30pm and last entry at 9.45pm. Full price tickets are £15 with concessions available. The exhibition is open until August 28.

A free programme of family activities inspired by You, Me and the Balloons will run throughout the summer, from dance workshops, upcycling, craftmaking and other self-led learning activities led by local artists, makers and creators.

On Saturday, August 5, audiences can also get a curator’s insight into the exhibition and Kusama’s life and work with an illustrated talk by Phoebe Greenwood, curatorial associate at Factory International, and Katy Wan, assistant curator at Tate and curator of Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms.

Designed especially for Aviva Studio’s vast new Warehouse space, You, Me and the Balloons brings together for the first time a collection of Kusama’s most significant inflatable artworks from the past 30 years, most of which have not been seen before in the UK. The exhibition is the first large-scale UK presentation of Kusama’s work since her acclaimed retrospective at Tate Modern in 2012.

You, Me and the Balloons invites visitors to immerse themselves in Kusama’s psychedelic universe as they journey through a colourful landscape of large-scale inflatable sculptures, many over 10-meters-tall or suspended from the 21-metre-high ceiling. A giant pumpkin, inflatable dolls, mirrored spaces and polka-dot spheres are among the best-known motifs featured in the show.

In an interview for the exhibition catalogue, Yayoi Kusama said: “It would be interesting if people would experience the show as a wonderland. 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.”

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