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Introspection / Meditation

Yayoi Kusama
Chandelier of Grief, 2016/2018
Chandelier, steel, aluminium, mirrored glass, acrylic, motor, plastic and LEDs
383.5 x 557.4 x 482.8 cm (151 x 219.4 x 190 in.)
© Yayoi Kusama, in the Tate collection, London

Meditation is a self-induced state of heightened awareness and focused attention, usually developed through focusing on a single thought, mantra or mental image for a sustained period of time. Another technique, used by experienced practitioners, is to empty the mind and attempt to watch thoughts as they arise, like an external observer. While meditation is introspective practice which begins by looking at one’s own internal dialogue, its effects carry through to support interaction with the outside world: practitioners develop improved awareness of their thoughts and attention to detail.

Exhibitions are sometimes referred to as spaces for introspection or meditation as the experience of an exhibition can mirror a meditation if the viewer is able to hone in on a series of artworks, and break from the outside world for a period of time. Like meditation, recent research has shown that visual art interventions can reduce distress, increase self-reflection and self-awareness, alter behaviour and thinking patterns, and normalise heart rate, blood pressure, or even cortisol levels.

anothermountainman (Stanley Wong) x Shuho
Installation view of reborn ikebana - 07B, 2011
Courtesy of the artist and 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Hong Kong

Artists and curators will often construct a meditative space for the viewer - quiet, spacious, free from distraction - however there are also ways for the viewer to pursue this kind of experience. First, it is important to dedicate plenty of time to the exhibition so that there is no sense of rush. Before looking at any artworks in detail, the viewer should move through the space slowly and take the time to notice the lighting, the sounds or silence, the smells of the space, the layout of the works. Upon finding a work they are drawn to, the viewer should take the whole piece in at a distance, eyes, jaw and shoulders completely relaxed. As the viewer’s eyes move slowly across the surface of the work, observing its colours, shapes, lines, textures and forms, they should pay attention to any thoughts, feelings and memories that arise. The viewer can stay for as long as they feel they need to relax into the experience, truly absorbing the details of the artwork while generating their own mindful meditation.

Related categories



Commemoration / Mourning

Invisible Energy/Phenomena

Relationship Between

Symbolic Images/Objects

Unconsciousness / Subconsciousness

Daily Life Experience



Searching for Identity




Sensory Experience

Artist Studio

Smooth and Flat Surface

Riverscape / Seascape

Interior Spaces

Light Installation

Communion with Space

Curated By

Psychedelic Art