Art

Connecting the Dots: Yayoi Kusama at David Zwirner

At 90 years old, the Japanese contemporary artist continues to brighten up our world, one dot at a time.
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Yayoi Kusama is back with another solo exhibit that's sure to go viral. The artist and polka dot master's Every Day I Pray For Love opens to the public today at New York's David Zwirner gallery. Joining the multimedia works on view will be a David Zwirner Books catalogue featuring texts and poems by Kusama, many of which have reached publication for the first time.

Among new paintings from her My Eternal Soul series (on view for the first time in the United States), new sculptures, and an immersive installation, the exhibition will showcase the debut of INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM - DANCING LIGHTS THAT FLEW UP TO THE UNIVERSE, an immersive and poetic experience of endless space in which the continuous mirroring of its flickering lights explores “eternal unlimited universe [and] the eternity of interrelationships.” The attraction will certainly inspire some trippy mirror selfies, but more importantly, it provokes thought by simultaneously blurring and deepening reality.

63 years ago, Kusama first moved from Japan to New York—a city full of life, diversity, and a bustling avant-garde scene. At the age of 27, she made this international move to join a handful of creatives who, with their unconventional ideas and rejection of traditional practices, were redefining the world of art. As a woman of color, Kusama had to work harder then her male counterparts to stand out. But her eclectic vision, talent, and multimedia approach to art has allowed her to become on of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st century, creating an oeuvre that has appealed to several generations. 

Rarely seen without wearing her bob wigs and bright garments, Yayoi Kusama is also a fashion icon and has been an instrumental figure in blurring the lines between fashion and art. In 2012, she collaborated with Louis Vuitton, covering the French house's iconic Speedy bag with her signature dots.

No matter how broad her range, polka dots always make their way into Kusama's work, which is what has earned her the worldwide title of “the princess of polka dots.” This recurring trademark evokes both microscopic and macroscopic universes.  “Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos," said the artist in a famous quote. "Polka dots are a way to infinity. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environment." Kusama has voluntarily been living in a psychiatric institution since 1977, and her work often explores “her desire to escape from psychological trauma.” It seems there's always more to discover about the artist's complex creativity, and the Chelsea exhibit is an exciting next step. 

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