Welcome to the magical, polka-dotted, pumpkin-filled world of the legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, who uses her art to fight for love and peace. We had the pleasure of meeting the 86-year-old Kusama in her colourful Tokyo-studio.
Kusama, who feels that we’re getting into the worst century, hopes that her artwork reflects her longing – and fight – for love and peace: “I have been expressing an infinite devotion to peace loving and the refusal of war and terrorism by infinite human love.” Infinity is key in this context, as all of her work – from fashion to literature and art – centres on the notion of infinity and “the marvellous mystery of the universe.”
“I have the enthusiasm as if I was still a child.” Pumpkins have always played and continue to play an essential role in Kusama’s artwork. She depicts the impressive fruit through both drawings and sculptures of various sizes and material: “I love pumpkins because of their humorous form, warm feeling and a humanlike quality and shape.”
Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) is a Japanese artist and writer. She has worked in a wide variety of media, including paintings, collage, sculpture, performance art, fashion, and installations. Common for these different genres is the thematic interest in psychedelic colours, repetition and pattern (most famously dots). She moved to the United States in 1957 and soon became a fixture of the New York avant-garde scene, influencing contemporary artists such as Andy Warhol. It was also in New York, that she embraced the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, organizing a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with polka dots. In 1973 Kusama moved back to Japan, where she was suddenly perceived as a “Western” artist, and thus had to re-establish her network and position. Kusama’s work is in the collections of leading museums such as MoMA in New York, Tate Modern in London, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou in Paris and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. She has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Asahi Prize (2001), Order des Arts et des Lettres (2003), the Order of the Rising Sun (2006) and one of Japan’s most prestigious prizes, Praemium Imperiale (2006), which she was the first Japanese woman to receive. Kusama has also designed for the fashion-industry, collaborating with prominent designers such as Louis Vuitton. She lives and works in Tokyo, Japan.
Yayoi Kusama was interviewed at her studio in Tokyo, Japan in June 2015.
Camera: Yudai Maruyama
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015
Supported by Nordea-fonden