The fuss and the excitement that surround one of this year's most important exhibitions at Victoria Miro Gallery in London have helped us decide to pass the Artist of the Week title to the wonderful and the mysterious Yayoi Kusama. Although we are sure that you already know about the great Japanese artist, we will take this opportunity to remind you (and ourselves) of Kusama’s idiosyncratic art and her compelling life story. Yayoi Kusama is one of those artists who allow themselves to stretch across all the genres there are, rendering all art as a comprehensive, unified albeit composite medium of expression. Although her art could be automatically associated with Japan, Kusama has always endeavored to avoid the limits that characterize one’s position in the art world, especially the ones that are founded on a national basis. Therefore, it comes as little surprise that Kusama was always interested in the European and the American avant-garde as well, which helped her conduct her first iconic series strongly influenced by Abstract Expressionism, created during her stay in New York in the late 50s. That moment was practically a beginning of a history – when Kusama managed to position her art alongside that of the great artists from the United States, such as Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Geroge Segal.
Thanks to this breakthrough period, we are now able to associate Yayoi Kusama with something as basic and simple as polka dots, and vice versa (which is even more interesting). As you probably already know, Kusama’s art blossomed during the 60s, partly thanks to the hippie movement and the liberating spirit of that period. She was the initiator of numerous happenings, which often involved nudity (and her polka dots were included as well), and it was also a period when her personal fashion brand was founded. However, later in the 70s, the artist decided to move back to Japan, and it seemed like the conservative environment was simply too much for her to handle, which could be one of the reasons why she decided to voluntarily admit herself to a mental hospital in Tokyo. And she has been living there ever since – which (obviously) didn’t stop her from making art. On the contrary, some of her most amazing artworks were designed, created or written in this period. In the 1977, Yayoi published her first book named 7, which consisted of poems and paintings. After that, she started writing novels, which demonstrated yet another side of her creative personality.
Happenings, installations, polka dots, fashion, poems, paintings and novels – there is so much to talk about when it comes to Yayoi Kusama, that it is simply too hard to squish it all into a single article. And yet she doesn't seem to run out of inspiration either, which is why the recently opened show is her biggest exhibition in the UK since 2012. Only this time, it will showcase her new works, some of which we were able to find on Victoria Miro's official website, and they are presented for your convenience below. If you are as enthusiastic about the exhibition as we are, you'll probably want to visit the show in person, and see the new artworks of one of the world's most famous artists alive. Well, it seems like you have enough time to do that - the exhibition will last until July 30th.