Yayoi Kusama

How much do we really know about the dot-obsessed Japanese art icon?

Yayoi Kusama is everywhere.

The Louis Vuitton collaboration has made the already world-famous artist inescapable online. But what do we really know about her? 

Yayoi’s whole life has been a quest to find ways to represent her reality.  Many of her motifs emerged from her upbringing in pre-war Japan. Her family were seed cultivators, so she grew up surrounded by flowers and squash.  

Large statue of a flower covered in colourful spots

Flowers that speak all about my heart given to the sky, 2018

Large red tendrils with white spots emerging from the water

Shine of Life, 2019

Her fields of dots and representations of infinity are an attempt to capture the visual hallucinations she has experienced since childhood. And the viewer is invited to see the world as she sees it.

Yayoi has been in voluntary psychiatric care since 1977. Leading people to question the ethics of the proliferation of her art, and her agency. 

Nevertheless, through her art and poetry Yayoi invites us into her complex and controversial inner world.

Mirrored room with colourful lights, seemingly infinite

The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013

A mirrored infinity room filled with yellow pumpkins

All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins 2016

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