At the age of 87, Yayoi Kusama continues to push the boundaries of contemporary art. With a personality as famously idiosyncratic as her work, HausMag takes a look at some of the most remarkable pieces created by the enigma that is Yayoi Kusama.
Polka-dots will forever be the legacy of Yayoi Kusama, an infatuation she has possessed since the age of ten. Throughout her career, Kusama’s personal obsession has caught on around the world through her theatrical portrayals. From her iconic collaboration with Louis Vuitton to her enchanting infinity-rooms, Kusama has continued to use the polka-dot in new and innovative ways, in her mission to ‘obliterate the world with polka-dots’.
In reflection of Kusama’s own observations of infinity, the artist’s mirrored infinity rooms are perhaps the most astounding of all her works. In what Kusama describes as “infinity nets”, these exhibitions provide immersive experiences which give the illusion of infinite space in dots. This process is achieved by the diffusion of light off the mirrored surfaces, creating the appearance of endless space.
At the Victoria Milo Gallery in London earlier this year, Kusama exhibited All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins, which saw her polka-dot adorned pumpkin sculptures reflected seemingly endlessly in her infinity mirrors. “Pumpkins have been a great comfort to me since my childhood, they speak to me of the joy of living. They are humble and amusing at the same time, and I have and always will celebrate them in my art” says Kusama.
In another illusory feat, Kusama’s exhibition, I’m here, but nothing, saw the installation of distinctly normal looking living rooms around the world. Using fluorescent sticker spots on these installations, the rooms appeared to loose their three-dimensional state as the light spots transformed each surface into a canvas for their colour. The viewer appears to see these ordinary living rooms through a magical, hallucinatory veil.
Fashion is another of Kusama’s fascinations. In the 60’s she launched her own label which presented a mix of hypnotically patterned garments which featured heavily in her own wardrobe. In 2012, the artist partook in an iconic collaboration with Louis Vuitton, which saw her signature polka-dots adorning their entire collection. Creative Director Marc Jacobs was said to be enraptured by the artist’s endless energy and her visions of “a world that never ends.”
Kusama has experienced hallucinations since she was a young girl, while they have provided immense inspiration for her art, they have burdened her throughout her life. Kusama has been living voluntarily in a mental health hospital in Tokyo since 1977, where she has continued to create art, publish novels and write poetry. Kusama’s interest in pattern began with these hallucinations as a young girl, as time went on she became increasingly gripped by the idea of ‘obliterating the world’ and began covering larger and larger areas with patterns.
http://www.thebroad.org/art/exhibitions/yayoi-kusama-infinity-mirrored-room [accessed 19.08.16]
http://azito-art.com/topics/double-vision-at-moscow-museum-of-modern-art/ [accessed 19.08.16]
http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2012/07/09/louis-vuitton-unveils-yayoi-kusama-collection/gallery/814356 [accessed 19.08.16]
http://www.victoria-miro.com/exhibitions/496/ [accessed 19.08.16]