Yayoi Kusama is a very well known writer and artist of the Japanese origin. Working on a variety of art forms, she is an artist of multiple mediums including sculpture, media and performance art. Kusama’s work is known to have influenced the likes of Andy Warhol. In fact she is considered to be one of the most important contributions from Japan to the international art scenario.
Born in Matsumoto, Nagano on March 22, 1929, Kusama belonged to an upper-middle-class family. Her father was a seedling merchant. She was the fourth child in her family. She is quoted to have been physically abused by her mother in her childhood. Perhaps consequently, she is known to have experienced suicidal tendencies and hallucinations from very early on. Despite her non artistic milieu, Kusama was drawn to the world of colors from a very young age. To quench her thirst she attended classes of Nihonga painting in Kyoto in 1948. However she was not happy with the style adopted by the faculty there which centered on the Japanese tradition. She later on remembered her time at the institution as nauseating; Kusama was more interested in the American forms of arts. She held many exhibitions of her work in Tokyo around the 1950s. She also began dripping her canvass with polka dots that went to become her signature move.
Yayoi Kusama moved to America in 1957. She chose the city of New York to settle down. Her work was occasionally exhibited at a number of galleries including the Zoe Dusanne Gallery. Her paintings were seen to have been greatly influenced by the movement of the expressionists. By the early 1960s her style began to grow more experimental.
Yet her personal life was in a lot of trouble during the time. She was occasionally hospitalized and her friends had to pitch in to help her with her financial concerns. Kusama was also actively involved in the protests against Vietnam War. She held a number of processions across the country, many of which involved stark nudity.
Kusama also became extremely productive at that time and her work was showcased alongside a number of including renowned artists George Segal. Soon after, she associated herself with the pop art movement. She also endorsed the cultures of hippies in late 1960s when she painted naked bodies of models with polka dots.
During her stay in New York, Kusama became romantically involved with artist Joseph Cornell. The relationship is known to be her only one till date.
In 1973, Kusama felt her homeland calling her. Hence she returned to Japan where she found art forms backward relative to ones she had encountered back in New York. Her health also began to deteriorate and she began writing a number of short stories of the visceral sort. She also produced some heavy poetry during this time. She then became an art dealer but her business did not do well. Soon after, she admitted herself in to a psychiatric ward where she decided to move in permanently. Till date she lives there. Her studio happens to be close nearby where she often retreats to produce art work. She is quoted to have admitted that if it hadn’t been for art, she would committed suicide ages ago.
Feminism, minimalism and surrealism are the main themes that Yayoi Kusama has walked upon. Her latest work is rife of physiological and sexually explicit content. She has also created many works in the film and fashion medium. Museum of Modern Art, Museum in, and Tate Modern are the main hosts of her work.