|"dazzling exhibition of astounding power"|
by David Franchi for remotegoat on 12/06/12
The octogenarian Yayoi Kusama - a celebrated living Japanese artists - pioneered and innovated art in the 20th century. Since the 1940s she has developed an extensive body of work through the usage of various kinds of mediums such as painting, collage, sculpture, performance art and environmental installations, most of which show her thematic interest in psychedelic colours, repetition and pattern.
The "Yayoi Kusama" exhibition proceed in a series of rooms organised in chronological order starting from her earliest explorations of painting to her new unseen works. At the Tate Modern her major themes are collated including her obsession for the polka dots. The exhibition includes a group of Kusama's first "Infinity Net", canvases bestrewed in endlessly-repeated, scalloped brushstrokes of a single colour. Kusama's art has an intensity that reflects her unique vision of the world, through an overwhelming gathering of small details or the dense patterns of nets.
Kusama is celebrated for her large-scale installations of astounding power. Highlights, in fact, are major sculptural installations including "The Clouds" (1984), comprising one hundred unique black and white sprayed sewed stuffed cushions, and "Heaven and Earth" (1991), which features snake-like forms emerging from forty boxes. The exhibition ends with a series of works from the last decade including "I'm Here, but Nothing" (2000) a darkened domestic space covered with fluorescent polka dots, and a new installation conceived especially for the show, aInfinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life" (2011), her largest mirrored room to date.
Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan in 1929. At the beginning of her career she studied diverse forms of art, integrating a wide range of Eastern and Western influences, training in traditional Japanese painting while also exploring the European and American avant-garde. She was the fourth child of a wealthy and conservative family of entrepreneurs. She has experienced hallucinations and severe obsessive thoughts since childhood, often of a suicidal nature. As a small child she suffered severe physical abuse by her mother.
In the late 1950s, Yayoi Kusama moved to the United States. In the 1960s Kusama started to create new artworks with a strong sexual background. One of her characteristic is the obsession for sex and the phallic form. From 1967 she made numerous challenging and risque performances - particularly a series of Body Festival. The Tate Modern exhibition showcases "Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show" (1963), her first room installation, and a significant selection of her classic "Sex Obsession" and "Food Obsession" Accumulation Sculptures dating from 1962-68. The exhibition includes iconic film "Kusama's Self-Obliteration" (1968), capturing this period of performative experimentation, and an extensive selection of archive material.
Also in the 1960s Kusama began to installations, films, performances and 'happenings' as well as political actions, counter-cultural events, fashion design and publishing.
In 1973, Kusama moved back to her native Japan, becoming an art dealer but also a poet and novelist. After experiencing psychiatric problems, in 1977 Kusama voluntarily admitted herself to Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill (Tokyo). She took up permanent residence and, by choice; she has spent the rest of her life in the hospital.
Yayoi Kusama is still producing work in her studio situated in a short distance from the hospital.Add your review? Have your say, add your review
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