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Yayoi Kusama

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Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who works with a variety of art mediums, including installation, sculpture, painting, performance, video art, fashion, poetry, fiction, and more. Kusama is the world’s highest selling female artist at auction and is recognised as one of the world’s most successful living artists. Born and educated in Japan, Kusama moved to New York in 1958, a time where the Pop Art Movement was rising, and was a part of the New York avant-garde scene of the 1960s.

Kusama’s mesmerising style covers many categories, including conceptual, art brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism. She infuses the concepts of feminism, minimalism, and surrealism in her works, while exploring concepts of psychology, sexual content, as well as her own life story through repeating motifs and psychedelic imagery. For example, during the Second World War, pumpkins were abundant in her home town and formed a large part of the family diet, planting the seeds for her love of the vegetable. Aside from the pumpkin, Kusama’s other reoccurring iconic motifs include the infinity net and dots. These dots symbolise Kusama's fascination with infinity, obliteration of the self, and the interconnectedness of the universe. Kusama has been very open about her mental health, and expressed that art is a powerful tool that allows her to relieve her illness. On an interview with The Wallpaper’s Megan Hills, the artist explained that “the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art. Painting helps me to keep away thoughts of death for myself”.

One of Kusama’s many notable exhibitions include "Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirror Rooms" (2017-2019). While not a single exhibition per se, Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms have been showcased in various exhibitions globally. These immersive installations feature mirrored rooms filled with countless objects, often adorned with her signature polka dots. They provide viewers with an enchanting experience of endless reflections and a sense of infinity, exploring themes of eternity, obliteration of the self, and the interconnectedness of the universe.

Another significant showing was “Yayoi Kusama: A Retrospective" (2020-present). Organised by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, this retrospective offers a comprehensive overview of Kusama's career. Featuring a wide range of her works, including paintings, sculptures, installations, and performances, the exhibition showcases Kusama's innovative artistic practice and legacy. It provides viewers with an in-depth exploration of her unique visual language and the recurring themes that have defined her art.

Lastly, introducing the exhibition that was held at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City, “Yayoi Kusama: Festival of Life" (2017) featured a selection of Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms alongside other recent works. The exhibition attracted widespread attention and acclaim, drawing large crowds eager to experience Kusama's immersive environments first hand. "Festival of Life" offered viewers a captivating glimpse into Kusama's vibrant and imaginative universe, inviting them to lose themselves in a kaleidoscopic world of colour, light, and reflection.

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