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Yayoi Kusama


Born: Matsumoto, Japan 22 Mar 1929

Yayoi Kusama, photo © Yayoi Kusama, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts


Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. From a young age, she experienced visual and auditory hallucinations, and began creating net and polka-dot pattern pictures. In 1957, she went to the United States and began making net paintings and soft sculptures, as well as organising happenings and developing installations that made use of mirrors and lights, establishing herself as an avant-garde artist. Overcoming various obsessions, she discovered an artistic philosophy of self-obliteration via the obsessive repetition and multiplication of single motifs.

Kusama has held exhibitions at various museums throughout the world, including recent large-scale retrospective exhibitions at Tate, London, and Centre Pompidou, Paris. She recorded more than 2 million visitors to her touring exhibitions in Latin America and Asia, which led to her being named the ‘world’s most popular artist in 2014’ by The Art Newspaper. In 2016, she received Japan’s Order of Culture.

In 2020 Kusama was one of the artists commissioned by the Art Gallery of New South Wales to create work for the Sydney Modern Project, the transformation of the institution into a two-building art museum campus. She has created an exuberant floral sculpture that is visible day and night, prominently positioned on the new building’s terrace.

Other works by Yayoi Kusama