Primarily recognised as a visual artist, Yayoi Kusama has also produced work as a writer, filmmaker and fashion designer. Beginning her studies in traditional Japanese painting in 1948, Kusama soon pursued performance upon moving to New York in 1957, later branching out into sculpture, printmaking, photography and installation. Her sustained exploration of perception and attendant preoccupations with infinitude and oblivion have driven her consistent use of pattern and repetition. Her work could be said to both anticipate and surpass the formal and conceptual inquiries advanced by Pop Art and Minimalism.
Exhibited in Unsettled Objects are two atypical paintings by the artist. In Splendor of Life That Lasts Till It Burns Out (2009) portraits of varying colour are painted in red, blue, purple and black. They are layered in a manner that the faces and the spaces between them are interrupted with black dots, resembling burnout holes. The second painting, Heart (2013), with its red and blue aura resembles a sea of eyes trapped in a square shape, surrounded by the artist’s iconic red dots. Choreographed and meticulous, but also boasting a gestural and aggressive quality, these paintings are filled with unsettling life.