Like everybody else I was introduced to Yayoi Kusuma's work when I caught sight of her mesmerising polka dot art installations on the big wide web. First and foremost these installations are famous for being captivating and beautiful to look/be in (not to mention perfect for an Insta post!) so it makes sense that they fast became her most recognisable work.
Photos of jazzy, bright and psychedelic installations combined with straight faced portraits of Yayoi intrigued me to find out more about what was behind the art. I went away and purchased her 'Infinity Net' Autobiography to gain a brief insight into her life, as well as to what has made her one of the most significant contemporary artists at work today. Here are a few nuggets of information that may interest you:
- Kusuma grew up in the mountain city of Matsumoto, Japan. However, she soon decided she had to get out and set her sights on moving to America to follow her dream of becoming an artist (much to her abusive mother's and philandering father's disgust).
- She suffers from 'Anxiety Neurosis' - a condition which is believed to be the reason she sees so many dots around her and started to draw and paint infinitive amounts of them. These are the dots that later shaped the theme for her artworks and installations.
- When she was a teenager she came across a Georgia O'Keefe book in a secondhand bookshop in Matsumoto and decided to write to her for advice on how to make the move to America.
- Georgia Replied. (How nice?!)
- In the 1960s, Kusama began hosting public body-painting parties and orgies in her studio. “Nudism is the one thing that doesn’t cost anything,” she wrote in a manifesto for a Happening titled The Anatomic Explosion. Even though she was completely repulsed by genitals and the act of sex itself.
- She has no children.
...I could go on and on as there were so many aspects of the book that were surprising and interesting, but the more you read on it all starts to make sense. So if you are interested in finding out more about what is behind that infamous polka dot then I highly recommend 'Infinity Net' as a good start!
P.S How amazing is this John Fisher Artwork?!