Posts Tagged ‘Yayoi Kusama

14
Mar
09

Exhibition: ‘Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Rooms’ at Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Sydney

Exhibition dates: 24th February – 8th June 2009

 

 

 

“Discover the work of internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama with this major exhibition that spans decades of her artistic practice.

Yayoi Kusama: Mirrored Years demonstrates the enduring force of Yayoi Kusama. Renowned early installations such as Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field (1965) along with recent immersive environments including Fireflies on the Water (2000) and Clouds (2008) provide insight into the creative energy of this extraordinary artist and her lifelong preoccupation with the perceptual, visual and physical worlds.

Working across different media and forms that include painting, collage, sculpture, installation and film, as well as performance and its documentation, Kusama creates works that reveal a fixation with repetition, pattern and accumulation. Describing herself as an “obsessive artist”, her work is intensely sensual, infused with autobiographical, psychological and sexual content.”

Text from the MCA website

 

Yayoi Kusama. 'Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field' 1965

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field’
1965

 

Yayoi Kusama. 'Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli's Field' 1965

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘Infinity Mirror Room – Phalli’s Field’
1965
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2008

 

 

Rewind 1960

Visual hallucinations of polka dots since childhood have inspired the most significant works of this avant-gardist, who says creating art “saved” her during her lifelong battle with mental illness.

Interview by Natalie Reilly

 

This photograph (see above, top, for the image of her in 1965) shows a creative work that I made in New York in 1960. I was 31 years old at the time and my inspiration was the inundation and proliferation of polka dots. The work represents the evolution of my original formative process. Of all the pieces I have made, I like this one the best. It was my intention to create an interminable image by using mirrors and multiplying red polka dots.
I was born in Nagano Prefecture , a mountainous region in Japan. The youngest of four children, I have one sister and two brothers.
Since childhood, I have loved to paint pictures and create art forms. [Kusama has suffered from obsessive thinking and visual hallucinations since early childhood. the hallucinations - often of polka dots, or "nets" as she calls them - have become the inspiration for much of her work.] I did many artworks in great numbers in my younger days.
I went to Seattle in 1957 where I had my first solo exhibition in the US. I moved  to New York in 1958. Japan in those days was too conservative for avant-garde art to be accepted. [By 1961, Kusama was an active participant in the avant-garde movement in New York. Her art, which often included performance and controversial themes such as nudity and protests against the Vietnam War, drew acclaim for art critics and other artists such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.]
I was deeply moved by the efforts the artists in New York were making then to develop a new history for art. I owe what I am today to many people in the art circles in Japan, the US and Europe who enthusiastically supported my art and gave me a boost into the international art scene.
Artists Georgia O’Keefe and Joseph Cornell were among the many friends who helped me, including Donald Judd and [writer and activist] Lucy Lippard who appreciated the originality of my art.  [in 1962 at the height of her success in New York, Kusama's mental health began to suffer as she grew more paranoid about other artists copying her work. Late that year, sho covered up all the windows in her studio in an attempt to "shut out the world", and by November she was hospitalised after suffering a nervous breakdown.]
I came back to Japan in 1973, because my health had deteriorated. I wanted to create art in a quiet atmosphere. I once said, “if it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago” an that’s still true. I do art in order to pursue my philosophy of life seeking truth in art.

Reilly, Natalie. “Rewind 1960,” in Boleyn, Alison (ed.,). Sunday Life: The Sunday Age Magazine. Melbourne: Fairfax Magazines. February 15th 2009, p.30.

 

Yayoi Kusama. 'Fireflies on the Water' 2000

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘Fireflies on the Water’
2000

 

Yayoi Kusuama. 'The Moment of Regeneration' 2004

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘The Moment of Regeneration’
2004
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2008

 

Yayoi Kusama. 'Invisible Life' 2000

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘Invisible Life’
2000
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2008

 

Yayoi Kusama. 'Clouds' 1999 and 'Love Forever' 2005

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘Clouds’ 1999 and ‘Love Forever’ 2005
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2008

 

Yayoi Kusama. 'Narcissus Garden' 1966

 

Yayoi Kusama
‘Narcissus Garden’
1966

 

 

Many thanks to Ed Jansen for the use of his installation photographs of this exhibition at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam in 2008. See the whole set of his photographs on Flickr.

 MCA website

Yayoi Kusama website




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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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