Yayoi Kusama

born 1929

Yayoi Kusama, ‘Chandelier of Grief’ 2016/2018
Chandelier of Grief 2016/2018
© YAYOI KUSAMA
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Biography

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生, Kusama Yayoi, born 22 March, 1929) 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 City University of Arts 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. 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 coloured polka dots. Since the 1970s, Kusama has continued to create art, most notably installations in various museums around the world.

Kusama has been open about her mental health. She says that art has become her way to express her mental problems. She reported in the interview she did with Infinity Net "I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieved my illness is to keep creating art. I followed the thread of art and somehow discovered a path that would allow me to live."

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