One of Japan’s foremost contemporary artists, Yayoi Kusama has forged a singular practice that spans over six decades. Most recognised for her use of repetitive patterns, polka dots and nets, as well as her immersive, large-scale environments, she has worked in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film and performance. Moving from Japan to America in the 1950s, Kusama became a leading figure in the avant-garde movement in New York in the 1960s and a major contributor to the development of Pop Art.
Since the age of 10, she has obsessively experimented with dots and the repetition of forms—covering photographs and drawings to ‘obliterate’ the image. Referred to as Self-Obliterations, Kusama would continue to develop this body of work that now extends from her early drawings and collages to include performance and film. Her works on paper dating from the 1950s show the artist’s early exploration of the almost microscopic dot and net patterns characteristic of her later works. Stemming from her hallucinations, these increasingly phantasmagorical and kaleidoscopic forms are also visible in her collage works from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s, produced after her return to Japan in 1973.
Kusama’s work has been the subject of many solo and survey exhibitions at Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Nagano (2019); Fosun Foundation, Shanghai (2019); High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2018–2019); Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (2018); The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta (2018); Art Gallery of Ontario (2018); Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2017–2018); Seattle Art Museum (2017); National Gallery Singapore (2017); Helsinki Art Museum (2016–2017); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); Fundación CorpArtes, Santiago (2015); National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai (2015); Seoul Arts Centre (2014); and Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, Japan (2013), among others. In 1993, Kusama represented Japan at the 38th Venice Biennale.
She has received several public art commissions, including for the Anyang Public Art Project, Korea (2007); Beverly Gardens Park, Beverly Hills (2007); Fukuoka Municipal Museum of Art, Japan (2004); and the Matsumoto City Museum of Art (2002).
Her works can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, among others.
Kusama has received the Order of the Rising Sun, a lifetime achievement award given by Japan (2006) and the Asahi Prize (2001).
Born in 1929 in the Nagano Prefecture, Japan, she lives and works in Tokyo.
Yayoi Kusama: Dot Obsessions (2016–2017)