The psychedelic universe created by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is to feature in a new retrospective in Tokyo, as reported Tuesday by EFE and epa correspondents.
Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul gathers 270 pieces by the artist best known for her brightly colored and obsessive polka dots that over the decades have coated everything from canvases and sculptures to naked bodies and expensive handbags.
The retrospective, set to open Wednesday, stretches from early childhood drawings to her latest set of large-scale paintings, which the 87-year-old artist is still working on.
It will allow audiences to examine the evolution of her practice, from the chairs coated in phallic objects that first garnered critics’ interest in the 1960s to her iconic spotted pumpkin paintings.
Visitors are immediately greeted by an explosion of colors and dots and organic shapes as they enter the main hall of the Tokyo National Art Center, where the walls have been plastered with over 100 acrylic paintings and the floors are filled with towering sculptures.
Kusama arrived at this scene amidst the clamor of journalists vying for her attention, dressed in yellow and black polka-dotted clothes to match her works and sporting the bright red bob that in the last few years has become her signature hair.
“I feel the greatest of joys,” she said smiling from her wheelchair in one of her rare public appearances. “I think my art will continue living after I die.”
Born in Satsuma, in central Japan, Kusama moved to New York in the 1950s and soon made a name for herself in the avant-garde movement.
A highly prolific artist, she spent her New York years creating a seemingly endless amount of pieces across a series of media, including covering everyday objects in cloth objects, staging nude events in Central Park where she would paint dots on people’s skin as part of the anti-War movement and organizing public gay weddings.
In 1973 she returned to Japan and voluntarily admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital to deal with mental health problems that had plagued her since childhood and were getting worse.
Despite the bright happy colors, many of her creations reflected the hallucinations she would see _ most notably the constant polka dots _ and her work helped her escape from her fears.
The hospital is where she has lived since then, working during the day from her studio in Tokyo and making art that she herself has described as medicinal and that has propelled her to international fame.
Although Kusama says the culmination of her artistic trajectory is yet to come, her works have resonated deeply with publics across the world and she is now one of the most loved Japanese artists.
“Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul” is to run from Wednesday until May 22.
Tokyo, February 21, 2017, EFE/Practica Español