I Love Kusama
Perhaps most of us did not know who Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama, is before her collaboration with fashion designer Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton. I myself can confess that I had no idea who and what she is until I saw a life size figure of herself in Louis Vuitton’s window display in Hong Kong.
Curiosity led me to research about her; for she is considered as a forerunner in various art movements. A prominent figure in the avantgarde scene, she has also inspired art heavyweights such as Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. My respect and admiration for her started after reading articles and seeing images of her famous creations. It has been on my wishlist since then to see an actual Kusama piece.
After almost a year, the art gods heard my prayers! The Philippines’ Ayala Museum holds the first ever Yayoi Kusama exhibit in the country called “I Love Kusama” under its new program called The Collectors Series. Ayala Museum’s latest showcases treasured rarely seen works from leading private collectors.
With support of the Japan Foundation Manila, prized Yayoi Kusama pieces from leading collectors Lito and Kim Camacho are now available for public viewing. The museum displays an extensive collection of the 84-year-old prodigious living artist’s work. You are welcomed by the Statue of Venus obliterated by infinity nets and a group miniature mirror boxes that encapsulate the experience Kusama conjured when she exhibited Infinity Mirror Room (1965 1965) in New York.
Yayoi Kusama’s work revolves around the theme of aggregation, obsession and self obliteration. Highlighted pieces that demonstrate these themes are Sex Obsessions (1992), Silver on the Earth (1991) and Death of a Nerve (1976). Inspiration behind her works are based on her own visual and aural hallucinations. She brings them to life by putting them on canvas using wide variety of media, from felttip pens to sewn stuffed fabrics.
In contrast, she is also recognized for her repetitive polkadot patterns that exude a playful and whimsical vibe. To create them, she lets everything fall through the canvas smoothly and organically. According to her, “I wish to make countless duplicates of the same visual field and spread them across the world”.
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