Senin, 26 September 2011

Yayoi Kusama - part 1

This is the first of a three-part post on the works of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Kusama is one of the most influential and widely collected artists of the 1960s and quite possibly Japan's premiere artist of the modern era. Critics have variously ascribed her work to minimalism, feminism, obsessivism, surrealism, pop, and abstract expressionism.
Kusama was born in Matsumoto in 1929. Kusama remembers growing up "as an unwanted child of unloving parents." A penchant for drawing and painting led her to plot her escape with the help of art magazines, and after sewing black-market American currency into the seams of her clothes, Kusama fled Japan on the advice of her hero, Georgia O'Keeffe.
She arrived in New York in 1958 and began to create a life for herself as an artist. Kusama made the front page of the New York Daily News in August 1969 after infiltrating the Museum of Modern Art's sculpture garden with a bunch of naked co-conspirators to perform her "Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead."
Kusama's paintings, collages, sculptures, and environmental works all share an obsession with repetition, pattern, and accumulation. Hoptman writes that "Kusama's interest in pattern began with hallucinations she experienced as a young girl – visions of nets, dots, and flowers that covered everything she saw. Gripped by the idea of 'obliterating the world,' she began covering larger and larger areas of canvas with patterns." Her organically abstract paintings of one or two colours (the Infinity Net series), which she began upon arriving in New York, garnered comparisons to the work of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Barnett Newman.

1967 Infinity Nets oil on canvas
 In Kusama's sculptures, the obsessive quality of the webs in her paintings is expressed in three dimensions. Household furniture, women's clothes, and high-heeled shoes are covered in bristling fields of fibre-filled phallic forms painted monochrome white, silver, or bronze. Other objects are covered in macaroni pasta and painted gold; mannequins are painted with colourful nets and polka-dots.
In the late 1970s, as Kusama stretched her vision further toward infinity by building ambitious mirror-room installations, she got lost somewhere along the way, and ended up back in Japan, at a Tokyo psychiatric hospital, in the small room where she stayed for over 20 years. Kusama learned during this time that the act of creation could also be a weapon in the battle against her mental illness. Kusama: "If I didn’t make art I'd probably be dead by now." She continued to work every day, returning to the hospital room only to eat and sleep because, she says, her life became easiest that way.
In the 1980s Kusama had solo shows of her work in France, New York, and London. In 1993 she was invited to the 45th Venice Biennale in Italy. She was invited to make permanent public art sculpture in Japan and Spain. She had a major retrospective at the Los Angeles County Museum and travelled to New York and Japan.
In 1998-1999 a major retrospective exhibition of her work toured America and Japan. In August 2010 she exhibited at the Aichi Triennale 2010 Nagoya.
In October 2006 Kusama became the first Japanese woman to receive the Praemium Imperiale, one of Japan’s most prestigious prizes for internationally recognised artists.
To date, Kusama has completed several major outdoor sculptural commissions, mostly in the form of brightly hued monstrous plants and flowers, for public and private institutions including the Fukuoka Municipal Museum of Art and Matsumoto City Museum of Art in Japan; Eurolille in Lille, France; and the Beverly Hills City Council in Los Angeles. She has exhibited work with Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns.
In 2008 Christies New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, a record for a living female artist.
Part 1 of these posts look at Kusama's work from 1950 - 1990, part 2 from 1991 - 2005, and part 3 from 2005 to present day.

1952 Bud chinese ink on paper

1953 Face No.5 watercolour, chinese ink, pastel on paper

1975 The Sea Bottom at the Sunset Time watercolour, pastel, collage on paper

1978 Cloud Movements spray paint on board

1978 Cloudy Evening spray paint on board

1978 Untitled (nets) painting

1979 On the Beach mineral pigments , gouache on board

1979 Shikishi watercolour

1980 Sea acrylic & spray paint on board

1982 Pumpkin lithograph

1983 Autumn Lake acrylic on paper

1985 Nets acrylic on canvas

1988 Journey acrylic on canvas

1988 Secret Lake acrylic on canvas

1988 Summer Comes oil on canvas

1990 Butterfly acrylic on canvas

1990 Dots acrylic on canvas

1990 Infinity Nets oil on canvas

1990 Pumpkin acrylic on canvas

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