We only had four hours off the ship to explore Helsinki, Finland, but despite the cold and rainy weather, luck was on our side; as the Universe guided us directly to the foot of Esplanadi Park, the site of Yayoi Kusama’s latest installation of Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees. Holy crap! We had no idea it would be there, but the impossible-to-miss red and white polka dot fabric-wrapped trees screamed “This is a Kusama Thing!” at us from across the road, and we journeyed over to investigate. There are no accidents.
A little bit of Googling gave us additional background on the installation, explaining how, “Part of Esplanadi Park has been utterly transformed. Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees establishes a wonderland in the park, where 20 trees in Theatre Esplanadi are wrapped in Kusama’s signature dotted fabric.” To run concurrently, Kusama’s Narcissus Garden, a well-known work consisting of a thousand mirror-surfaced steel spheres, has also been installed in the Palm Room at Helsinki’s Winter Garden. Kusama offers, “These works have been inspired by beautiful nature and people, and they create communication between nature and living beings. The shining city of Helsinki, as well as the life we wish for, becomes even more beautiful.”
While we found it on Thursday, June 9th, the work was officially unveiled on Helsinki Day, June 12th. It will be on display for all to enjoy until October 9th, 2016. Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees has previously been on show in London, Singapore, Moscow and elsewhere.