Good news for fans of the famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama: her whimsical, poetic works are now celebrated in her very own museum, as well as a children’s picture book. The five-storey ‘Yayoi Kusama Museum‘ recently opened in Shinjuku and is the first institution in the world that is entirely dedicated to displaying her works—much to the delight of Kusama and art lovers alike. Kusama’s abstract expressionist style is characterised by polka dots, pumpkins, heavily lashed eyes, and the repetition of faces, patterns, and lines. Visitors can now explore Kusama’s visions through the museum’s displays of her drawings, paintings, installations and of course her signature ‘infinity rooms’, which disorient audience’s perceptions through the use of mirrors. The museum’s inaugural exhibition, Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art displays over 600 artworks by Kusama, and places a focus on her latest painting series, My Eternal Soul. Kusama’s signature polka-dot motif not only features in her art itself, but the museum’s glass facade, restrooms and elevators… in true Kusama style.
In other Kusama news, the enigmatic 88-year-old’s life has been encapsulated in the children’s picture book Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity!. Written by MoMA curator Sarah Suzuki and beautifully illustrated by Ellen Weinstein, the picture book tracks the progression of Kusama’s life from childhood to her current status as one of the most influential Avant-Garde artists today. The book follows Kusama as a child growing up in Matsumoto, Japan, where she experienced visual and auditory hallucinations, and expressed these through painting and drawing. Despite family expectations to follow a traditional career and life path, Kusama held a strong desire to be an artist from a young age. This led her to study at an art school in Tokyo, and eventually to expand her creativity in New York – where her first polka dot paintings emerged. The book closes with Kusama’s return to Tokyo, where she set up her own studio nearby a psychiatric facility where she continues to reside today. Yayoi Kusama: From Here to Infinity! is now available for purchase through various outlets including Amazon and Booktopia.
- Words: Maki Morita