Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist, renowned the world over for her artistic installations, sculptures, and paintings. Her work often involves the recurring themes of infinity, repeating patterns and polker dots.
Kusama has lived her whole life creating art, beginning in childhood and now reaching into her ninth decade. She has spent her artistic career operating largely on her own impulse and has never been fully submerged into any one art movement. Kusama has been hugely influential as a pioneer of pop, performance and installation art.
Infinity Net Series
Early in her career, Kusama moved to New York and began working on her Infinity Net series. Through her Infinity Net paintings, she explored the idea of infinity; an idea that would stay with her throughout her career. Kusama’s fixation on infinity would become the central concept of her later Infinity Room series of installations.
Infinity Rooms – Immersive Art
Throughout her career, Kusama has focused on creating immersive experiences in her art. Central to this campaign is her desire to democratise the experience of art and to spread the joy of art, to reach as far as possible.
Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms exactly capture this desire to create immersive experiences. Visitors to her installations are invited to walk through a spectacular display of lights or objects projected eternally by mirrors, which come together to create a sense of infinite space and light.
The Obliteration Room!
A triumph in Kusama’s program to democratise the experience of art, came when she created the Obliteration Room. A room filled with furniture and household items, painted entirely in white. Gallery visitors would then be invited to cover the room and its objects with coloured spots, creating their own collective masterpiece.
My Eternal Soul Paintings
Kusama’s My Eternal Soul series is a huge collection of wondrous paintings containing an array of intricate and repeating patterns, complements of bright and dark colours and a multitude of shapes inspired by nature.
Kusama is still working on her series My Eternal Soul, which was originally planned as a collection of 100 works, it now contains over 500 pieces.
A Helping Hand from Georgia O’Keeffe
As a young and ambition artist, Yayoi Kusama was living in Japan and dreaming of escaping her family and moving to America to pursue her art. She wrote to the eminent artist, Georgia O’Keeffe for advise. O’Keeffe responded to the letter with “great kindness and generosity”, according to Kusama, giving her the courage she needed to move to New York.
O’Keeffe advised Kusama in how to succeed as an artist in New York and helped her to sell her paintings. O’Keeffe even encouraged her own dealer to buy some of Kusama’s works.
Kusama said of O’Keeffe:
“She looked into potential exhibition opportunities for me. I was deeply moved by that.”
Kusama’s Art as Therapy
Kusama is currently living in a psychiatric institution, where she has lived for over four decades. She voluntarily checked herself into the institution in 1977, after leaving New York to return to Japan feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.
Kusama leaves the institution every day to go to her studio, where she spends hours painting before returning to the institution each and every evening.
Yayoi Kusama has faced down much adversity in her life and manages her own battle with mental health each day through her art. She believes that people gain a true direction in life from overcoming adversity and recommends that people explore themselves in order to obtain a marvellous view from their own deep thinking, creativity, and from the power of art.
Yayoi Kusama: Revised & Expanded Edition
Yayoi Kusama: Revised & expanded edition – Phaidon Contemporary Artists Series by Catherine Taft, Laura Hoptman and Akira Tatehata is a marvellous monograph of Kusama’s work.
The book showcases Kusama’s many mesmerising artworks and contains a collection of her poems.
Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry
Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry is a wonderful book for any young reader interested in art.
The book tells the amazing story of Yayoi Kusama’s life, how she followed her dream of becoming an artist, reached out for help from Georgia O’Keeffe and how she managed her life-long struggle with mental health.
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