Similar to Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Japanese otaku/poku (pop+otaku) artist 村上 隆 (Takashi Murakami) back in 2003, it is now time for another Japanese collaboration with one of my favorite artists, 草間 弥生 (Yayoi Kusama).
Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan. Just like Takashi Murakami, she started out in nihonga, Japanese style painting. She became frustrated with the strict Japanese style and prefered to experiment with American and European avant-garde. This lead her to venture out and move to New York in 1957, where she continued to work with pattern, repitition and the psychedelic colors that she’s so well known for. Much like other greats as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg, Kusama was a precursor of the pop art movement.
I fell for Kusama’s fabulous work after seeing her exhibition Kusamatrix at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum in 2004. Everything featured was designed especially for the museum and showed a series of environmental installations, developed out of her auditory hallucinations, dot and net filled visual fantasies. Needless to say, I was mesmerized.
Then, a leap in time and Britain’s Tate Modern, supported by Louis Vuitton, hosted an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s work that ran from February 9th – June 5 2012. The exhibition showed a range of Kusama’s work, which included a variety of media such as drawings, paintings, film, and installations. There was a large emphasis on her work with penises, showing an obsessive atmosphere that hints at a desire to escape from her own psychological trauma. Personally, I prefer her colorful and fun polka dot installations and sculptures. They never seize to amuse, entertain, and make me smile.