Who is Yayoi Kusama?
Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 in the Japanese prefecture of Nagano. Considered one of the most influential living artists, Kusama became known in the 1960s when she joined the Pop Art movement in New York.
Already at the age of ten, she discovered dots and nets as painting motifs, which later became her trademark, and already created paintings in watercolour, pastel and oil.
From 1957 until the early 1970s, she lived in the United States. Here she began exhibiting large paintings, sculptures and environmental sculptures with mirrors and electric lights. In the late 1960s, she organised numerous happenings, such as body painting festivals, fashion shows and anti-war demonstrations, in New York, Holland and Rome. She designed the so-called Kusama clothing, which was sold in shops all over the USA, and opened her own boutique in 1969. She also produced films and published newspapers. In 1968, her film "Kusama's Self-Obliteration" won several international awards, including the Fourth International Experimental Film Competition in Belgium.
She returned to Japan in 1973. She continued to tirelessly produce and exhibit artwork, but also published a number of novels and anthologies.
Kusama's works are in numerous institutions worldwide, including the MOMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the National Museum of Art in Osaka.
Kusama in the "25 Years" exhibition at MUCA Munich
At the MUCA, Kusama's oil painting "Nets Infinity" (1997) from the series "Infinity Net Paintings" was on display in the anniversary exhibition (06.10.2022 - 10.09.2023).
This can be achieved within the field of tension between natural creation and mass production, between
original and recreated form can be located. Through slight permutations of a fixed form, Kusama managed to create patterns that are at once formulaic and unpredictable, mechanical and organic, constant and ever-changing.
How does Kusama work?
Kusama's work encompasses a variety of artistic practices ranging from painting to performance art, installation, literature, sculpture, film, collage and printmaking.
The work "Nets Infinity" from 1997 is part of the series of paintings "Infinity Net Paintings", which were created in the late 1950s when she went to the USA. These obsessive, process-oriented paintings exemplify Kusama's constant exploration of dot patterns. The repetitive mode of working acted as a cathartic relief for her hallucinations, which had developed in her at a young age. The dot motif runs through Kusama's entire career and eventually led to the installations in the Infinity Room for which she is famous today.
In 1994, she began creating sculptures in open spaces. Sculptures were created, for example, for the Fukuoka Municipal Museum of Art, the Kirishima Open-Air Museum, the TGV station Lille-Europe in France, Beverly Gardens Park in Beverly Hills as well as a mural for a metro station in Lisbon.