“When I first arrived in New York, I went to the top of the empire state building. Seeing this big city, I promised myself that one day I would conquer New York and make my name in the world.

The nine decades of artist Yayoi Kusama’s life have taken her from rural Japan to the New York art scene to contemporary Tokyo, in a career in which she has continuously innovated and re-invented her style.

Well-known for her repeating dot patterns, her art encompasses an astonishing variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance and immersive installation. Ranging from works on paper featuring intense semi-abstract imagery to soft sculpture. ‘Accumulations’, to her ‘Infinity Net’ paintings, made up of carefully repeated arcs of paint built up into large patterns.

Since 1977 Kusama has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric institution. Her work has been marked with obsessiveness and a desire to escape from psychological trauma. In an attempt to share her experiences, she creates installations that immerse the viewer in her obsessive vision of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space.

“I think I will be able to, in the end, rise above the clouds and climb the stairs to Heaven, and I will look down on my beautiful life.”

87-year-old Yayoi Kusama isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

The celebrated Japanese artist is most famous for her infinity rooms and her obsession with bright, patterned prints. The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. broke attendance records when they hosted an exhibition of Kusama’s infinity rooms last year, as her artwork went viral across social media feeds.

Now, she’s embarking on her next artistic venture: a five-story museum in Tokyo dedicated to her own work.  The museum was completed in secret in 2014, but will now open to the public on October 1.


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