Kusama's Largest-Ever Exhibit Overwhelms

By Morita, Mutsumi | The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan), April 8, 2017 | Go to article overview

Kusama's Largest-Ever Exhibit Overwhelms


Morita, Mutsumi, The Daily Yomiuri (Toyko, Japan)


At age 88, Yayoi Kusama is still pouring ever more energy into her "fight" with art. Visitors to her current exhibition at The National Art Center, Tokyo, can gain this realization from the roughly 250 items on display.

"Yayoi Kusama: My Eternal Soul" is one of the largest-ever events of the avant-garde artist, who has earned global fame for transforming the visual and aural hallucinations she has been suffering since childhood into art forms. The show even presents work from the 1930s up to her most recent work, with a focus on the "My Eternal Soul" series, which she started in 2009.

Upon entering the venue, visitors are greeted by the highlight of the show: 132 large works decorating the walls of the main exhibition room -- about 50 meters long and 16 meters wide. Measuring 1.62 or 1.94 square meters each, these works adorn the walls without any space between them.

Smaller exhibition rooms around the main one are dedicated to retrospectives, with most items on display being from the 20th century, such as paintings she did in her childhood in Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture -- her hometown -- as well as pieces she created while living in New York from 1957 to 1973.

In the smaller exhibition rooms, visitors can follow Kusama's wide variety of forms of expression, from paintings covered with fine mesh patterns or uncountable polka dots to soft sculptures featuring phallic objects covering items of furniture. She also organized "happenings," performance pieces communicating messages of peace and sexual liberation, among other themes.

Returning to the main exhibition room after going through the retrospective areas, visitors can see that her latest series features a great variety of color. …

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