Born in Japan in 1929


Yayoi Kusama is one of the most important living artists. Her pioneering work across myriad disciplines including painting, objects, installations, performances, collages, fashion and furniture design, literature and film confirm her as one of the most renowned artists working today.

Kusama’s obsession with the accumulation of pattern stems from childhood hallucinations of dots and nets. A method of ‘self-obliteration’, Kusama has applied these motifs to surfaces throughout her career over six decades. The large scale, repetition and stunning originality of Kusama’s work has a forceful reach. Her compelling installations particularly embed themselves in audience memory. As much as it is ‘seen’, Kusama’s art is ‘experienced’.

Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama moved to New York in 1958 where she was a pioneering member of the post-war avant-garde. In New York Kusama had close associations with Joseph Cornell and Donald Judd as well as Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko and Carolee Schneemann. She returned to live in Japan in 1973.

Kusama has been the subject of many major international museum exhibitions including the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (touring Japan), 2004-2005; Mori Museum of Art, Tokyo, 2004; Le Consortium, Contemporary Art Center, Dijon (touring France, Denmark, Korea), 2001-2002; and Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama 1958-1969, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Walker Art Center and Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 1998-99. A major touring exhibition has recently been announced to include the Museo Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, Madrid, Centre Pompidou, Paris, Tate Modern, London and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Kusama has twice represented Japan at the Venice Biennale (1966, 1993). Her work is held in numerous major museum collections worldwide, including the National Gallery, Washington, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Neuenational Galerie, Berlin, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane and most major museums in Japan.

In November 2008, a painting by Yayoi Kusama sold for over 5 million US dollars at Christies New York, the highest price ever achieved at auction for a living female artist.

1929년 일본 나가노현의 마츠모토시에서 출생한 야요이 쿠사마는 교토에서 일본화를 전공하고 화가로 데뷔했으나 정신이상자의 그림으로 취급받는 것에 불만을 품고 1957년 미국으로 떠났다. 뉴욕을 중심으로 활동한 15년은 “미칠 수 있는 자유”를 구가한 시대로 회화, 조각, 설치, 퍼포먼스를 아우르는 작업으로 주목을 받았을 뿐 아니라, 페미니스트적, 히피적 해프닝들이 경찰의 단속 대상이 되며 화제를 뿌렸다.
1973년 뉴욕 생활을 접고 일본으로 귀국한 쿠사마는 자의로 동경의 한 정신병원에 입원해서 계속 그곳에서 살며 작업하고 있다.