Yayoi Kusama: Dots Obsession

A glimpse into the marvellous mind of Yayoi Kusama
 

Yayoi Kusama: Dots Obsession

"My life is a dot among thousands of other dots." — Yayoi Kusama
 
Yayoi Kusama, Dots Obsession, 2005, acrylic and metallic paint on canvas, 63 3/4 x 51 1/4 in
 

A glimpse into the marvellous mind of Yayoi Kusama...

Growing up in Japan until her mid-twenties, Kusama felt rejected by Japanese society for her mental illness. In 1957, at twenty-seven years old, she moved to New York City seeking refuge from her family and her home country. It was during this time she came to develop the Infinity Net and the Polka Dot, two signature motifs that represent a constant hallucinatory vision for the artist, occupying a large part of her conscience. 

‘Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment.’ – Kusama

For Kusama, art is a form of self-therapy, a way for her to find a sense of calm through the process she calls ‘self-obliteration.' Just as she allows herself to be absorbed by her environment, finding tranquillity and peace of mind through painting, the viewer becomes absorbed in the canvas she creates, engulfed in a world of dots which oscillates before the eyes. In this way, Kusama alleviates her mental anguish, whilst simultaneously exhibiting her remarkable artistic talent.

The all-encompassing nature of Kusama’s work is like no other. Throughout her career, she has been categorised as a Surrealist, Pop Artist and Feminist, among other labels. Yet, she refuses to be singularly characterised, expressing in an interview of her distaste for being defined: ‘people in New York call me a ‘Surrealist-Pop’ artist. I do not care for this kind of labeling.' Kusama is an outsider in many ways, even with her renowned artistic practice and critically acclaimed career. Perhaps this is why her polka dots continue to intrigue and allure, as they allow the viewer a glimpse into the very unique and intimate world of the artist. 

Dots Obsession,
 2005 (above), belongs to her most personal and renowned body of work, relating to the canvases she began painting in the late 50s. Far more complex than its predecessors in composition, the intricate interweaving of dots shows a more refined manifestation of Kusama’s original concept. Enchanted by the dots, the viewer is sent down the spiraling staircase of Kusama’s brilliant, complicated mind, mesmerised by a mixture of fragility, boundlessness, and abstraction.
 
Kusama vit au Japon et y reste jusqu'à l'age de vingt-sept ans, mais elle se sent rejeter par la société japonaise à cause de sa maladie mentale qui lui provoque des visions. En 1957, elle déménage à New York, où elle trouve refuge loin de sa famille et de son pays. C'est à cette époque qu'elle développe l'Infinity Net et le Polka Dot, qui seront deux motifs récurrents de son oeuvre qui pourraient représenter les hallucinations de l'artiste, qui encombrent beaucoup sa conscience.

«Oubliez-vous. Devenez un avec l'éternité. Faites partie de votre environnement. »- Kusama

Pour Kusama, l'art est une forme de thérapie, un moyen pour elle de retrouver un sentiment de calme au travers du processus qu'elle appelle «l'auto-effacement». En se laissant absorber par son environnement, elle trouve une tranquillité d'esprit à travers la peinture, et le spectateur s'imprègne de la toile qu'elle a peinte, englouti dans un monde de pois qui oscillent devant ses yeux. De cette façon, Kusama atténue son angoisse mentale, tout en montrant simultanément son remarquable talent artistique.

La travail de Kusama est unique et ne ressemble à aucun autre. Tout au long de sa carrière, elle a été classée parmi les surréalistes, les artistes pop et les féministes. Pourtant, elle refuse d'être catégorisée, elle exprime dans une interview : «les gens de New York m'appellent une artiste« Surréaliste-Pop ». Je n'aime pas ce genre d'étiquetage. » Kusama est une étrangère à bien des égards, malgré sa pratique artistique renommée et sa carrière acclamée par de nombreux critiques. C'est peut-être la raison pour laquelle ses "Dots" continuent d'intriguer et d'attirer, car ils permettent au spectateur d'avoir un aperçu du monde unique et intime de l'artiste.

Dots Obsession, 2005 (ci-dessus), appartient à son œuvre la plus personnelle et la plus renommée, concernant les toiles qu'elle a commencées à peindre à la fin des années 50. Bien plus complexe que ses prédécesseurs en matière de composition, l'entrelacement de "Dots" montre une manifestation plus raffinée du concept original de Kusama. Enchanté par les pois, le spectateur est envoyé dans l'escalier en colimaçon de l'esprit brillant et compliqué de Kusama, fasciné par un mélange de fragilité, de débordement et d'abstraction.
 
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Yayoi Kusama

BIOGRAPHY


Yayoi Kusama is a contemporary Japanese artist working across painting, sculpture, film, and installation. She has produced a body of work formally unified by its use of repetitive dots, pumpkins, and mirrors.

Click here for more on Kusama...

 
If you would like to know more about our collection of works by Yayoi Kusama, please do not hesitate to contact us. While our London gallery is temporarily closed, make sure to stay in touch with us through following our activity on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. We will also be updating our webpage regularly with information regarding artworks, artist information, and upcoming art fairs we will be participating in. 

We send our best wishes for you all to stay safe during this time. 

Many thanks and kindest regards,

Daniel Boulakia 
Galerie Boulakia
41 Dover Street
London W1S 4NS
United Kingdom 

daniel@boulakia.gallery
+44 (0) 75 5753 4491
June 8, 2020