Can there ever be another Yayoi Kusama?

Today the post is dedicated to this endowed and mystical women in the art industry YAYOI KUSAMA.  Kusama reigns as one of the most unique and famous contemporary female artists, operating from her self-imposed home in a mental hospital.

YAYOI KUSAMA
YAYOI KUSAMA

Yayoi Kusama’s life is a poignant testament to the healing power of art as well as a study in human resilience. Plagued by mental illness as a child, and thoroughly abused by a callous mother, the young artist persevered by using her hallucinations and personal obsessions as fodder for prolific artistic output in various disciplines. This has informed a lifelong commitment to creativity at all costs despite the artist’s birth into a traditional, female-effacing Japanese culture and her career’s coming of age in the male dominated New York art scene.

When Kusama began to see hallucinations as a child, her way of coping with the bizarre phenomena was to paint what she saw. She says that art became her way to express her mental disease. This most notably is seen in her Infinity Net paintings based on repetitive patterns and her installations in which she creates elaborate environments overrun with polka dots or tiny points of light.

In much the same fashion as Kusama uses art to process hallucinations, she also uses her work to confront personal phobias, especially a fear of sex stemming from a witnessing of her father’s womanizing. This reveals itself through her “compulsion” soft sculptures and furniture pieces covered in myriad phallic forms.

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Her familiarity with fighting for her life, and her compassion for others involved in causes against injustice, led Kusama to briefly associate with many subcultural movements of her time such as the hippie culture of the 1960s and the feminist movement.

For Kusama, art-making became an essential survival mechanism. It was her sole tool for making sense of a world in which she dwelt on the periphery of normative experience, and as a result became the very thing that allowed her to assimilate successfully into society.

Most renowned work of this artist is vividly known by Arts & Fashion scholars. lets discuss few of those.

THE WOMEN, 1953
THE WOMEN, 1953

The watercolour depicts a singular biomorphic form with subtle dots in the centre floating in a seemingly black abyss. The form is reminiscent of female genitalia with red spikes surrounding it.

No. F (1959)
No. F (1959)

The bluish-grey underlay is almost completely obscured by small, white semi-circles, which consume the entire canvas and only allow the gray underlay to be visible in the form of tiny dots.

Accumulation No.1 (1962)
Accumulation No.1 (1962)

 

 

Sex Obsession Food Obsession Macaroni Infinity Nets& Kusama (1962)
Sex Obsession Food Obsession Macaroni Infinity Nets& Kusama (1962)

The work consists of a single abandoned armchair painted white and completely covered with soft, stuffed phallic protrusions, while fringe encircles the base of the sculpture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this piece, we see the artist splayed naked on one of her famous soft sculpture furniture pieces laden with phallic accumulations and surrounded with macaroni pasta which forms her familiar, patterns of repetition

 

 

Narcissus Garden (1966)
Narcissus Garden (1966)

Narcissus Garden was Kusama’s first successful experimentation with Performance art. Although officially not invited to represent Japan at the 33rd Venice Biennale nor given permission to participate by Biennale officials, Kusama nevertheless placed 1,500 plastic silver globes on the lawn near the Italian Pavilion. As in the original Greek myth in which Narcissus’s admiration for his own reflection eventually causes him to drown, the viewer is forced to confront their own vanity when looking at their distorted reflection on the surface of the balls.

Anatomic Explosion on Wall Street (1968)
Anatomic Explosion on Wall Street (1968)

Her first Anatomic Explosion took place on October 15th, 1968 opposite the New York Stock Exchange. The work featured nude performers dancing to the rhythm of bongo drums while Kusama, who called herself ‘Priestess’, painted blue dots on their naked bodies and presided over the event. The performance was in opposition of the Vietnam War and was prefaced by a press release that stated,

Pumpkin (1994)
Pumpkin (1994)

pumpkin is one of Kusama’s first forays into outdoor sculpture. Made specifically for the Benesse Art Site on Naoshima Island in Japan, the giant, yellow pumpkin sculpture is painted with rows of black dots fanning out from large to small around the gourd. The pumpkin’s bulbous, organic form and grand scale gives the work a cartoonish appearance, highlighting how strange the natural world appears in modern culture.

Obliteration Room (2002 - present)

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