domingo, 12 de abril de 2020

Yayoi Kusama

Born in Nagano Prefecture.

Avant-garde sculptor, painter and novelist.

Started to paint using polka dots and nets as motifs at around age ten ,and created fantastic paintings in watercolors, pastels and oils.

Went to the United States in 1957. Showed large paintings, soft sculptures, and environmental sculptures using mirrors and electric lights. In the latter 1960s, staged many happenings such as body painting festivals, fashion shows and anti-war demonstrations. Launched media-related activities such as film production and newspaper publication. In 1968, the film “Kusama's Self-Obliteration"which Kusama produced and starred in won a prize at the Fourth International Experimental Film Competition in Belgium and the Second Maryland Film Festival and the second prize at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Held exhibitions and staged happenings also in various countries in Europe.

Returned to Japan in 1973. While continuing to produce and show art works, Kusama issued a number of novels and anthologies. In 1983, the novel “The Hustlers Grotto of Christopher Street" won the Tenth Literary Award for New Writers from the monthly magazine Yasei Jidai.

In 1986, held solo exhibitions at the Musee Municipal, Dole and the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Calais, France, in 1989, solo exhibitions at the Center for International Contemporary Arts, New York and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England. In 1993, participated in the 45th Venice Biennale.

Began to create open-air sculptures in 1994. Produced open-air pieces for the Fukuoka Kenko Center, the Fukuoka Municipal Museum of Art, the Bunka-mura on Benesse Island of Naoshima, Kirishima Open-Air Museum and Matsumoto City Museum of Art, , in front of Matsudai Station, Niigata,TGV's Lille-Europe Station in France, Beverly Gardens Park, Beverly hills, Pyeonghwa Park, Anyang and a mural for the hallway at subway station in Lisbon.

Began to show works mainly at galleries in New York in 1996. A solo show held in New York in the same year won the Best Gallery Show in 1995/96 and the Best Gallery Show in 1996/97 from the International Association of Art Critics in 1996.

From 1998 to 1999, a major retrospective of Kusama's works which opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art traveled to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Walker Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo.

In 2000, Kusama won The Education Minister's Art Encouragement Prize and Foreign-Minister's Commendations. Her solo exhibition that started at Le Consortium in France in the same year traveled to Maison de la culture du Japon, Paris, KUNSTHALLEN BRANDTS ÆDEFABRIK, Denmark, Les Abattoirs, Toulouse, KUNSTHALLE Wien, Art Sonje Center, Seoul.

Received the Asahi Prize in 2001, the Medal with Dark Navy Blue Ribbon in 2002, the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officier), and the Nagano Governor Prize (for the contribution in encouragement of art and culture) in 2003

In 2004, Her solo exhibition “KUSAMATRIX" started at Mori Museum in Tokyo. This exhibition drew visitors totaling 520,000 people. In the same year, another solo exhibition started at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo In 2005, it traveled to The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto,Matsumoto City Museum of Art.

Received the 2006 National Lifetime Achievement Awards, the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Losette and The Praemium Imperiale -Painting- in 2006.

In 2008, Documentary film : “Yayoi Kusama, I adore myself" released in Japan and also screened at international film festival and museum. Exhibition tour started at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney in Australia in 2009, City Gallery Wellington in New Zealand. Conferred the honorary citizen of Matsumoto city.

Solo exhibition at Gagosian Gallery NY and LA, Victora Miro Gallery in London and Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan. Honored as Person of Cultural Merits in Japan 2009.

In 2010, solo exhibition and permanent outdoor sculpture at Towada Art Center in Japan.?Participation to Sydney Biennale and Aichi Triennale. Solo exhibition at Victoria Miro Gallery in London, fiac in Paris.

2011, solo exhibition at Gagosian gallery (Roma), Victoria Miro gallery (London). Europe and North America retrospective tour started at Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid traveling to Centre Pompidou (Paris), TATE MODERN (London) and Whitney Museum (New York). Solo exhibition at Watari Art Museum (Tokyo). In September, participate in the 2011 Chengdu Biennale (China). Programmed solo exhibition at Queensland Art Gallery (Brisbane) in November.

2012, “Eternity of Eternal Eternity", recent works solo national traveling show started at National Museum of Art, Osaka traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Matsumoto City Museum of Art, Nagano, Niigata City Art Museum. In the next year, it travel to Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Oita Art Museum and Museum of Art, Koch. Solo exhibition at Victoria Miro gallery (London). Shinjuku Honorary Citizen Award. The American Academy Of Arts and Letters Foreign Honorary Membership. Collaborated with Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs on collaborative collection “LOUIS VUITTON × YAYOI KUSAMA Collection".

2013, “Yayoi Kusama. Obsesión infinita [Infinite Obsession]", South America retrospective tour started at Malba - Fundacacion Constantini. It will travel to Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Centro Cultutal Banco do Brasil, Brasília, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo and Mexico City. “KUSAMA YAYOI, A Dream I Dreamed", recent works exhibition tour started at Daegu Art Museum, Korea. It will travel to Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai, Seoul Arts Centre, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.


"Since my childhood, I’ve been suffering from hallucinations. However after I met a good psychiatrist, my condition got better. But I’ve made many works based on my hallucinations. I just kept sketching whenever I saw hallucinations."

Yayoi Kusama

"My passion has never changed. 
I am desperate to create more and more works."
Yayoi Kusama

Self-portrait by Yayoi Kusama

"I am interested in everything 

and I admire all the mysteries of the universe."

Yayoi Kusama

Obsession gone dotty
Yayoi Kusama
Serpentine Gallery, London 

By Adrian Searle
The Guardian, Monday 31 January 2000

Now in her 70s, the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is a legend. This exhibition spans her career, yet somehow fails to give the full measure. It is still a terrific, troubling show. Her work is a conundrum.

In the 50s she moved from Japan to New York, had an affair with Donald Judd and a relationship with an adoring Joseph Cornell. She filled vast canvases with thousands of white-on-white whorls, canvases which, though extremely beautiful, are frightening, when one considers the obsessiveness of their manufacture. Kusama covered canvases in the dots she had begun to see in hallucinations, and which spilled from her paintings onto shop mannequins, her own naked body and the garments she designed.

Part of her paradox is that she could make works so delicate as the white paintings (Judd called them "solid lace"), and go on to perform quaintly exhibitionistic naked street Happenings, to make inflatable vinyl environments, to replace the dot with dry pasta, and to exhibit shoes stuffed with phalluses. It is her forms, rather than the nature of her obsessions, which mutate. This is wonderful, vulgar, an art that overcomes difficulty by its accommodation.


Yayoi Kusama to exhibit in London: 
at 85, 'the ideas just keep coming'

As a young artist, Yayoi Kusama scandalised Japan with her 'obscene’ work. But with a new exhibition opening, she has finally found the recognition she craves – if not inner peace

Yayoi Kusama photographed in Japan Photo: NORIKO TAKASUGI
By Sophie Knight
The Guardian
8:00AM BST 31 Aug 2014

Yayoi Kusama’s studio is hidden down a back street in Tokyo, squashed between high-rise apartment blocks and creaky wooden houses. Signless, sealed with a heavy metal door and with walls of opaque glass blocks, it gives no clue as to what it houses – or that it might form one corner of Kusama’s universe, along with a new showroom across the road and the nearby psychiatric hospital where she has lived for 37 years. 

At 85, Kusama is one of the art world’s grandes dames, and also one of its great eccentrics. After making a name for herself in New York in the 1960s as a renegade who threw public orgies and covered everything from naked bodies to horses in polka dots, she retreated to cope with her mental illness and returned to Japan, which did not initially embrace its taboo-busting prodigal daughter. But in the past 15 or so years Kusama has been granted a critical reassessment with recent retrospectives propelling her back into the limelight. 

Inside the studio, it is a hive of activity, with a small army of staff buzzing around. Most are women in their thirties or forties, though the manager of the showroom, soon to be museum, is a man who has worked for Kusama for 15 years and whom she and the others call “big brother”. I am led up stairs, where, squeezing past stacks of canvases, I find the queen bee herself in full regalia: a violently red wig, a smear of similarly coloured lipstick and a black dress swarming with yellow tentacles. 

She is tiny, her feet dangling above the ground from her wheelchair, her shoes splashed with paint. She fixes me with a piercing stare, the same intent gaze she uses for photographs, and greets me, almost breathlessly, with a seemingly rehearsed speech in English: “Hello! Thank you for coming to see me today! Please give me lots of good publicity for my exhibitions!”

I Who Have Arrived In Heaven, New York, 2013 (GETTY)

Kusama, I discover, is still so hungry for recognition that publicity is the only thing that can tear her away from painting, an activity that absorbs most of her waking hours. Age has not slowed her: if anything, she is speeding up, expanding her staff over the past couple of years to cope with her unrelenting flow of ideas and increased volume of work.

“I’m very scared by the fact I’ve become older… I know the end is getting near and I could die any day,” she says, switching to Japanese. “I’m always here until it gets dark and, although I want to paint more, I think I should go home or I’ll get tired the next day. Before I go to sleep I’m so exhausted I could die. But then around three in the morning I wake up and start drawing or writing again.”

Kusama has been busy making pieces for an exhibition, “Pumpkins”, at the Victoria Miro gallery in London next month. The humble root vegetable is an enduring motif in her work.

“Pumpkins are visually humorous, in terms of their shape, and the way they are scattered about fields when they’re growing seems very spiritual to me”

 Yayoi Kusama

Pumpkin, from Kusama’s forthcoming exhibition (Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc/Ota Fine Arts Tokyo and Victoria Miro, London)
She has drawn pumpkins since she was a child in Matsumoto, a small city encircled by mountains in central Japan, where her wealthy family sold seedlings and kept plant nurseries. Drawing was a way to express, and thereby soften, the terror of visual and auditory hallucinations she experienced. The polka dots and nets that would become her best-known motifs derived from the blotches that swarmed her vision.

Her mother, whom she describes as “an aggressive person”, often threw away her drawings and battled with her to give up art and marry a rich man (her pursuit of fame was in part a balm for her mother’s rejection, from which she says she never recovered). Kusama refused, and continued to paint every day before going on to study traditional Japanese art in Kyoto. Disliking the professors’ obsession with precision and the hierarchy of the art world, she barely attended classes, instead concentrating on her own work.

Kusama felt oppressed by her family and by Japanese society, and longed to go abroad. She wrote to the artist Georgia O’Keeffe after finding her address at the American embassy, asking her how to break into the New York art world. To her surprise, O’Keeffe replied, writing that, as she lived in New Mexico, she was out of touch with the scene but warning Kusama that it was tough there. None the less, in 1958 Kusama moved to New York.

“Japan was a very feudalistic society and I felt I wanted to live more freely,” she says. “So I decided to go to America. I thought lots of people were making beautiful images in America… It was a very interesting society to me, especially the younger generation. Everyone seemed to try really hard to find their own way.”

On arriving, she “just went around thinking, 'I want to paint this, draw this,’ and I had a great feeling that I was able to do it.”

Self-Obliteration: Horse Play, Woodstock, 1967

It is sometimes difficult to separate reality and myth in Kusama’s retelling of her life. Few of my questions are met with a direct answer and there are times when her memory or expressive capacities fail her. She often asks staff to pull down books from a shelf in response, as if she has outsourced the facts to their pages.

Yayoi Kusama

But, by all accounts, her early years in New York were unforgiving. Too poor to afford heating, she shivered her way through the winters in her kimono, frying endless batches of onions and potatoes, the only food she could afford. Even now she doesn’t care much for meals while working, nibbling absent-mindedly on a rice ball for lunch as she paints.

The hardships, however, left Kusama only more determined to succeed, driving her to paint through the night to distract herself from cold and hunger. She gained attention with her early exhibitions, impressing critics with her dizzying “infinite net” paintings, enormous canvases covered in loops and whorls representing her hallucinations.

In 1963 she held a solo show at the Gertrude Stein gallery in New York, covering a boat and oars with plaster phalluses and wallpapering the room with photocopies of the image. One critic called it “weirdly moving”. She later accused Andy Warhol, whom she considered a friend and rival, of stealing her idea by using a photocopied picture of a cow as wallpaper in an exhibition.

A rowing boat covered in phalluses, exhibited in 1963

Kusama – who describes herself as asexual – says she made phallic art as a way of overcoming her fear of penises, a phobia rooted in her childhood, when her mother would send her to spy on her father having sex with his mistresses. As a result, her only “romantic” relationship was in fact a platonic one, with Joseph Cornell, an artist 29 years her senior who was, conveniently, impotent.

In 1965 she began staging public “happenings”. She would descend on Brooklyn Bridge or Times Square with a band of acolytes, whom she would order to strip off before painting their bodies with dots. The media began calling her “the polka-dot princess”.

“Psychologically, I felt at ease in New York,” she tells me, as she flicks through photographs of her exhibitions there. “At that time, when America went to war and lots of young people died, I wanted to express peace and humans’ limitlessness. I wanted to put my energies into my own future and feel proud of myself.”

But rumours of her “obscene” activities filtered back through the Japanese tabloids to her family, who felt disgraced. Meanwhile her school erased her name from its alumni.

Kusama at work in her Tokyo studio

At first, Kusama shrugged off their disapproval, but after Cornell’s death in 1972 her mental state deteriorated and she returned to Japan, where she was still relatively unknown. With her illness worsening, in 1977 she checked into a psychiatric ward in Tokyo, where she has remained ever since.

Kusama says that all her inspiration comes from within her mind, with no conscious thought, or influence from other artists, most of whom she dismisses (“Picasso painted thousands of pictures in one style, whereas my art covers every kind of idea,” she boasted once.)

“A lot of artists have to draw first with pencil, but I paint directly. Many people ask me, 'How do you draw that?’ and I just say, 'Ask my hand!’” she says.

After more than a decade of obscurity, a new wave of Japanese curators and artists began to discover her work, and in 1993 she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale. So began her re-emergence, though it wasn’t until retrospectives at Tate Modern and the Whitney Museum in New York in 2012 that she once more became a household name. Her pieces now sell for up to £3.5 million at auction.

Yayoi Kusama in 1939

Kusama has always been commercially astute (in 1966 she sold mirrored baubles from her Venice show at $2 apiece), and when I ask why she mass-produces her art, she merely murmurs, “Well, everyone wants them, don’t they?” Of her audience, she says, “I want them to feel like art is wonderful.”

Such is Kusama’s appeal now that last year, when she showed at the David Zwirner gallery in New York, people queued for eight hours for just 45 seconds inside one of her “infinity rooms”, where tiny lights and mirrors created a kind of limitless, starry universe. “I have so much, I can’t handle it all myself,” she says. “I have so many ideas my hands are very busy. The ideas just keep coming.”

Kusama remains endearingly insecure in spite of her success. She oscillates between reassuring herself of her popularity, by rattling through a list of recent international exhibitions – “São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Seoul, New York” – and desperately seeking affirmation from everyone around her. Of all the endless questions she asks her staff (“What did the gas man want?”, “What is this canvas doing here?”, “Where’s the exhibition schedule?”) the most frequent seems to be, “What do you think of this one?”

Eventually tiring of my questions, she summons Etsuko, her assistant of nearly 20 years, and a handful of staff to show off some of her latest works. One by one they lift the heavy canvases and slowly rotate them around the room. “Who’s next?” she asks, as if they were her children. Her audience claps and coos over work as it is uncovered: “Oh, that one is fabulous”; “I love the colours! Each so different!” Kusama seems to glow with delight at each compliment. 

The only thing she appears to crave more than recognition is the opportunity to paint. For our photo-shoot Etsuko helps her out of her wheelchair into a chair to pose while painting. Daubing black triangles on to the canvas, she becomes absorbed in seconds, ignoring all requests to turn towards the lens. 

“When I draw and paint things become clearer. I feel alive,” she says. “My doctor told me, 'You work too much.’ I went to him with knee pain because I used to paint on all fours. But they can’t fix them anyway, so I carry on.” 

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario