I’m a huge fan of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and was stoked when I found out she was having a show at the Seattle art museum. Her work is complex– both cheerful and disturbing. There’s a a playful intensity to ALL THOSE DOTS. Her mirror rooms are like walking into a giant kaleidoscope. And what a fascinating life story. At 87, she’s lived for the past four decades as a voluntary resident of a mental hospital, and manages to be massively influential and productive. Polka dots have strong symbolic and meaning for Kusama–among other things they represent “the obliteration of self.”
‘One day I was looking at the red flower patterns of the tablecloth on a table, and when I looked up I saw the same pattern covering the ceiling, the windows and the walls, and finally all over the room, my body and the universe. I felt as if I had begun to self-obliterate, to revolve in the infinity of endless time and the absoluteness of space, and be reduced to nothingness. As I realized it was actually happening and not just in my imagination, I was frightened. I knew I had to run away lest I should be deprived of my life by the spell of the red flowers. I ran desperately up the stairs. The steps below me began to fall apart and I fell down the stairs straining my ankle.’
Feast your eyes, my friends!