Shine of Life

Yayoi Kusama


Courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore / Shanghai, Victoria Miro, London / Venice

Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction, and other arts. Her work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminism, minimalism, surrealism, Art Brut, pop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan.

Kusama was raised in Matsumoto and trained at the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts in a traditional Japanese painting style called nihonga. Kusama was inspired, however, by American Abstract Impressionism. She moved to New York City in 1958 and was a part of the New York avant-garde scene throughout the 1960s, especially in the pop-art movement. Since the 1960s, when she entered the New York art scene, the Japanese artist has been an outsider, operating from her own visual universe of infinity nets and polka dots.

Yayoi Kusama lying in Narcissus Garden 1966 Venice Biennial

Yayoi Kusama lying in Narcissus Garden 1966 Venice Biennial. Courtesy of Victoria Miro, London.

Embracing the rise of the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s, she came to public attention when she organized a series of happenings in which naked participants were painted with brightly colored polka dots. Kusama’s art encompasses a broad spectrum of media, including film, painting, and performance. She is best known, however, for her immersive and energetic installations and sculptures.

I am just another dot in the world

Yayoi Kusama

Kusama has been open about her mental health. By choice, she lives in Seiwa Mental Hospital and says that art has become her way to express her mental disease.

Hear Yayoi Kusama's advice to the young:

Find out more on Yayoi Kusamas sculpture in the park:

Related artists: