Monday, 16 January 2012

Yayoi Kusama and the dots obsession - Osaka 2012

The National Museum of Art Osaka is now hosting the works of Yayoi Kusama, avant-garde "artist and novelist", born in 1929 in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. View her works on her official website, on NMAO museum's site and on Asahi Shinbun Daily Newspaper's site (main sponsor).

After curating Renoir, tradition and innovation (2010) and The Complete Posters of Tadanori Yokoo (2010) exhibitions, Masahiro Yasugi, a museum-profit record-breaker at NMAO, has taken charge once again.

Taking photographs is permitted in most exhibition rooms.

With all my love for the tulips, I pray forever by Yayoi Kusama, 2011
草間彌生 《チューリップに愛をこめて、永遠に祈る》
Courtesy of The National Museum of Art, Osaka (current exhibition)

Whether polka dots make you think of Dexter's blood spatter, or are reminding you of Brigitte Bardot's femininity, it is fair to say that they have become Kusama's signature.

Dots: Brigitte Bardot vs Dexter

In terms of style, one cannot fail to notice the resemblance to Takashi Murakami's works. Murakami has displayed his works at the Versailles Palace in 2010, stirring controversy among critics but not so much among young fans. You can see more images in the Guardian.

Takashi Murakami @ Versailles (2010)

Both of them also enjoy a business collaboration with Louis Vuitton.

Many of Kusama's monochromatic works using manga-brush for silkscreen printing on canvas or acrylics on canvas, display women's broken features, which, even though lacking the emotional heaviness of the subject, make us think of Picasso, and his work Weeping Woman (1937) from the Tate Collection.

Women in a Dream [TWZSA] & First Love [SWTUE] by Yayoi Kusama (2005)
草間彌生 《夢の中の女たち[TWZSA] 》&《初恋 [SWTUE]

Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman (1937)
© Tate Collection

Patterns like the one below remind of Gustav Klimt's style from the mural painting The Tree of Life at the Secession in Vienna.

I Who Was Looking Hard at God, by Yayoi Kusama, 2011
草間彌生 《神をみつめていたわたし》

The Tree of Life, Gustav Klimt, 1909

The explosion of stickers on white surfaces at Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art (Australia) reveal even more Yayoi Kusama's playfulness, she makes differences vanish and dreams unify all edges.

Installation views of The obliteration room 2011
as part of ‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’,
Brisbane Gallery of Modern Art, 2011
© Yayoi Kusama, Yayoi Kusama Studio Inc.
Photographs: Mark Sherwood

YayOi Ku$ama and the dOt$ Ob$e$$iOn - O$aka

Welcome to the Osaka exhibition !

Yayoi Kusama Eternity of Eternal Eternity at NMAO 2012
catalogue, flyer, list of exhibited works, museum events

Exhibition banner stand

Polka-dotted space

more dots

dots are a medium, an equalizer, a standardizer

everything becomes absorbed in this obsessional dotscape

dots reach the upper floors

shapes resembling Miyazaki's Kodama-s show up

they get round & take flight

dotscape trying to escape

The exhibition space ends with a dazzling experience inside Gleaming Lights of the Souls, a Steppenwolf - like gigantic mirror-space of a Magic Theatre (mixed media, 2008).

Related links:

Yayoi Kusama exhibition at Serpentine Gallery, London, 2000

Yayoi Kusama: Flowers that bloom at midnight, by Evelyne Politanoff, Huffington Post, 12 December 2011

Interview Yayoi Kusama, by Helen Sumpter, in TimeOut London, 2012

Love Forever, Yayoi Kusama 1958-1968, MoMA exhibition web page, 1998

There has been a boom in Yayoi KUSAMA major exhibitions in 2011-2012:


Eternity of Eternal Eternity, The National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, 7 January- 8 April 2012 (curated by Masahiro Yasugi, supported by Asahi Shinbun Daily Newspaper)


Tate Modern, London, 9 February- 5 June 2012 (curated by Frances Morris and Rachel Taylor, supported by Louis Vuitton, see press release here)

Centre Pompidou, Paris, 10 October 2011-9 January 2012 (supported by KENZO Parfums, see press release here) - see an one-hour video created by the Centre Pompidou here.

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 12 July- 30 September 2012

Gagosian Gallery, Rome, 25 March - 7 May 2011

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 11 May - 12 September 2011


  1. In a way, for an art-lover like myself, decorating our home is quite easy. I just please myself mostly, with my poor husband going along with most of my choices. I am always collecting beautiful things, like handicraft decorative pieces, little sculptures and hangings.
    And I simply hang lovely paintings in all our rooms. Not all are originals of course, as who can afford many of those.
    I order many prints on canvas from who have a vast collection of images from Western art, that you can choose to make economically-priced prints like this Interior in Aubergines, by Henri Matisse,, from there.
    I can choose the frames as well and my orders are delivered quickly to my home.

  2. Really mind blowing. I want this amazing posters and just ordered these at PIJ which is designed by Takashi Murakami. Its really excellent.