Creative Minds: Yayoi Kusama

~Art in Different Mediums~

Could you remain in the same career for 60 years?  How would you continue to grow, or maintain interest and passion?

Yayoi Kusama, one of Japan’s premier contemporary artists, seems to have found the solution. Kusama’s extraordinary and highly influential career spans paintings, performances, room-size presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and interventions within existing architectural structures.

I create art for the healing of all mankind.” ~ Yayoi Kusama

Kusama’s ability to cross artistic realms broadens her audience and facilitates constant growth and renewal. One may see her different methods of expression as distinct careers:  architect, writer, film-maker, etc., but Kusama has said, she was always and will always be an artist. It’s just expressed in various forms.

In 1998, Kusama was also quoted on bombmagazine.org as saying, “My artwork is an expression of my life, particularly of my mental disease.  My art originates from hallucinations only I can see. I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings. All my works in pastels are the products of obsessional neurosis and are therefore inextricably connected to my disease. I create pieces even when I don’t see hallucinations, though”.

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Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. After achieving fame through groundbreaking exhibitions and art “happenings,” she returned to her native country in 1973.

According to Visionary Artist Magazine, “as a fierce feminist and forward thinker, Kusama’s work has always been a bit provocative and seductive. She plays with political statements in addition to using her creative forces to promote her ideas. It is this very nature that propelled Kusama into one of the most prolific artistic talents of our time”.

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Fireflies on the Water, 2002. Mirror, plexiglass, 150 lights and water, 111 × 144 1/2 × 144 1/2 in. (281.9 × 367 × 367 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Postwar Committee and the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee and partial gift of Betsy Wittenborn Miller 2003.322a-tttttttt. © Yayoi Kusama. Photograph by Jason Schmidt

This “Mirrored Room” installation is my favorite. It was a 2013 exhibit at the David Zwirner Gallery in the Chelsea area of New York City. Only one person was allowed to experience the room at a time. It was a very personal experience lasting exactly 45 seconds.

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People stood in the rain and sleet for hours to view this installation.  I suspect it was well worth the experience.

Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929), Fireflies on the Water, 2002. Mirror, plexiglass, 150 lights and water, 111 × 144 1/2 × 144 1/2 in. (281.9 × 367 × 367 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Postwar Committee and the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee and partial gift of Betsy Wittenborn Miller 2003.322a-tttttttt. © Yayoi

Kusama, now in her mid 80s, has traveled the world displaying her work and writing, looking for the newest forms of creating art.

Yayoi Kusama - dots

“I will continue to create artwork as long as my passion keeps me doing so. I am deeply moved that so many people have been my fans. I have been grappling with art as a therapy for my disease, but I suppose I would not be able to know how people would evaluate my art until after I die. I create art for the healing of all mankind.” ~ Yayoi Kusama

More about Yayoi Kusama:

 

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Categories: Career, Professional Development

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