Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Yayoi Kusama at the Tate Modern

Most of us have a taste for colour and pattern, but Japanese artist Yayoi Kusuma has devoted her life to both subjects.

Yayoi was born in 20s Japan, where from an early age she was encouraged to express herself through creative mediums.

In 1948, she chose to study painting in Kyoto, but quickly became frustrated by the conformity of traditional painting and developed a hunger for wildly experimental work – perhaps inspiring her move to New York.

The Big Apple played an important part in defining Yayoi's work, and her creativity – it was here she regularly put on 'Body Festivals' where friends and volunteers would paint each other’s naked bodies with a flurry of polka dots – another deep obsession for Yayoi.

In the 70s, Yayoi returned to Japan, voluntarily checking herself into Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill. To this day, she still resides here, and it’s here she has created some of her most spectacular works – some of which are now on show at the Tate Modern, London.

Certainly, few artists can count painting, sculpture, collage, performance art and environmental installations as their regular mediums. Yayoi, and her polka dot fixation, are without a doubt unique, not to mention utterly captivating.

"A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colourful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots become movement... Polka dots are a way to infinity." Yayoi Kusama.

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