As prescribed by Paulina Constancia

DOTermination 2: Yayoi Kusama’s Polka Dot World

Yayoi Kusama

  • Japanese artist and writer
  • born March 22, 1929 in Matsumoto, Nagano into an upper-middle-class family of seedling merchants
  • throughout her career she has worked in a wide variety of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, performance art, and environmental installations, most of which exhibit her thematic interest in psychedelic colors, repetition and pattern.
  • a precursor of the pop art, minimalist and feminist art movements, Kusama influenced contemporaries such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.
  • Although largely forgotten after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde.

Read more on Wikipedia
Read her bio on her website


Young Yayoi and her polka dot world

polka queen

Yayoi- now an octogenarian- continues to be passionate about dots ( &  red too!)


Yayoi Kusama Interview with BBC in 2012

A few things I learned about Yayoi from her BBC interview:

Her home & studio base:
– a psychiatric hospital in Japan

The psychiatric hospital is  a refuge of her own choosing after a bout of illness a few years ago…
“For 3 or 4 days , I did not eat I just painted and then I just collapsed. Then I went to psychiatric hospital and the doctor said that I had to be admitted.” – YK

Why do polka dots pop up so often in her art…
“Please ask that to my hand. I’ve drawn lots of dots since I was a child and covered my fashion and my notebooks with dot. Dots are a symbol of the world – the cosmos – the earth is a dot, the moon, the sun, the stars – are all made up of dots. You and me – we are dots.” – YK

 The ideas Yayoi explores through her art…
“These are my own work about my life: the deep emotion of being born human and the various movements of space as we know them. We can find out all sorts of things about these through dots.” – YK


TateShots: Kusama’s Obliteration Room

Yayoi Kusama’s interactive Obliteration Room begins as an entirely white space, furnished as a monochrome living room, which people are then invited to ‘obliterate’ with multi-coloured stickers. Within a few weeks the room is transformed!
Yayoi Kusama was on show at Tate Modern from 9 February – 5 June 2012


Here is a classic Yayoi image of pumpkins…


“Pumpkin” by Yayoi Kusama
Image via universotokyo


And a sculpture version of the yellow pumpkin dotted in black
which is now the icon of Naoshima island, Japan…


Yayoi’s yellow pumpkin with black polka dots on Naoshima island
Image via wild-about-travel



Yayoi Kusama’s Collaborations with other artists:

1. Yayoi Kusama collaborated with recording artist Peter Gabriel  on the making of  “LOVE TOWN”, a music video

Peter Gabriel’s song ‘Lovetown’ was first released in February 1993 on the soundtrack to the film ‘Philadelphia’ and was included on the film’s soundtrack album. The video for the track was inspired by the art work of Yayoi Kusama, who Peter collaborated with on the video. The video was released as part of a compilation of Peter’s videos entitled ‘Play’ in 2004.

Peter Gabriel, in an interview with BBC, talked about the  passionate intensity of Yayoi’s art: “on the one hand- it’s childlike and on the other- very adult and disturbing…”


– a collaboration between Louis Vuitton creative director Marc Jacobs and artist Yayoi Kusama

Marc Jacobs talks about how the idea of the collaboration developed…

Louis Vuitton presents Yayoi Kusama’s signature patterns:

The actual store display of the collection:


image for header So do…as Yayoi did – don’t worry so much about what the world will say – seek help when you need it. And find a creative and peaceful way to express the wild inner landscapes of your mind.


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This entry was posted on November 12, 2014 by in Collaborate, Create, Dare and tagged , , , , .
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