Yayoi Kusama is crazy but still going strong

Kusama Paintings

Kusama Paintings (Photo credit: marttj)

Yayoi Kusama is still going strong at eighty-two years of age; the charmingly eccentric Japanese artist, who sold a painting for record-breaking $5.1 million in 2008 (highest for any living female artist at the time), has been granted a dizzying 14-roomretrospective by the Tate Modern in London. Personally I can’t help but admire Kusama; throughout her entire life, she has been a creative powerhouse, and well into her eighties she has remained vibrant, filled with energy and vision. Kusama is prolific and individual; by day she works at her studio in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and returns at night to a psychiatric care ward, where she has resided by choice since the mid-1970’s. Kusama has famously grappled with mental illness throughout her long life, and her career has been sometimes helped, sometimes hindered by her struggle. She found great success in the fifties and sixties before vanishing off the map during the seventies and eighties; but in the past two decades, Kusama made a remarkable comeback and is once again enjoying the spotlight she worked so hard to earn.

Along with her contemporary work, the exhibit at the Tate showcases her lesser-known “Infinity Net” paintings from the late ’50s and her found-object “Accumulations” from the ‘60s. The biggest crowd-pleaser has been her dazzling “Infinity Mirrored Room,” an installation of mirrors and multicolored LED lights. Polka dots are Kusama’s signature — many of her installations feature entire rooms covered in them — and the “Infinity Mirrored Room” echoes this theme. I find Kusama fascinating, both her work and her life story, and I wish I could hop across the pond to see her retrospective at the Tate. Alas, I’ll just have to settle for the photos.

 

 

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  1. Modern Quilt Guild’s Next Challenge « Diannajessie - May 8, 2012

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