Yayoi Kusami Japanese artist is one of the most celebrated artist in Japan and worldwide. Her worlds were built on one ideology and that revolved around her such that has at most times or all times used art to convey a message. Much of Kusama’s work is attributed to her decision to leave her mother country Japan for New York since she considered that the political and social climate within Japan was limiting her ability to explore art and artwork. Over the years, she has been able to build a career and an identity with much of her work depicted by use of dots to convey a message while also using her own body to describe the general attitude or feelings she perceives of the larger population. This paper seeks to analyze three of her works to depict the unique identity she has built over the years.
1. Accumulation #
Figure 1: Kusama (page 22)
This is a photograph of Kusama which shows her in naked posture. In the photograph, Kusama, who poses naked on the couch, has her body painted in idiots that cover her body. The background of the artwork is covered with Infinity paints which are previous works of Kusama while the front part is covered with macaroni pasta (Kusama, 24). This artwork more than describes the provocative and expressionists nature of Kusama’s work and in trying to use her body as well as her piece of furniture. She tries her best to become part of her own artwork. Located in the middle of the artwork, her body is produced both as an artwork and a sexualized object. The dots on the visibly tender body provide a view of parody and irony of the sensuality of Kusama’s body. More than anything, the naked and provocative posture justifies Kusama’s position of the absolute but responsible liberty of the female gender (Kusama, 37).
Figure 2: Morris (page, 31)
This artwork is a 1967 experimental film still by Yayoi Kusama whose leitmotif is the prevalent polka dots in this experimental film, the artist utilizes the same concept of polka dots to conceal objects, people, animals and environment just to make sure that only the main idea or intention is portrayed (Morris, 18). In essence, it is a metaphor that is highly applied to abolish uniqueness, give up the unique self-perceived identity while creating a unity with the universe in what Kusama describes as self-obliteration. Kusama’s ideology is essentially based on the aspect of ‘ego death’ which emanates from a Buddhist view of thee ability to posses or acquire a new universe friendly identity and let go of an ego and an identity that would otherwise be considered entirely or partly non-harmonious. The extensive application of dissolve in the film especially in relation to these polka dots is used to depict the ability of each individual to dissolve the self- and allow the new self to rule the mind (Morris, 35).
3. The moment of regeneration (2004)
Figure 3: Museum of Contemporary Art (page 16)
The Moment of Regeneration is an artwork, of sculptural form that is made up of 55 pieces of anthropomorphic sprouting forms of different sizes that are reminiscent of sea creatures or a kind of non-common plant life growing in a gallery place. Kusama has achieved to create, distort and refigure the sculpture to represent a soft accumulation of objects in brightly colored surfaces. As usually the polka dots are evident on each of the objects and can be described as a way to infinity (Museum of Contemporary Art, 16). Once more she brings in the ideology of unity with the environment. The artwork in generality indicates a sense of renewal as well as growth in nature probably brought about by the new found unity that is achieved at the point where we decide to become part of the unity of our environment (Museum of Contemporary Art, 16).
Kusama, Yayoi. Infinity net: the autobiography of Yayoi Kusama. Tate Enterprises Ltd, 2013.
Morris, Frances, ed. Yayoi Kusama. 2012.
Museum of Contemporary Art. "YAYOI KUSAMA: MIRRORED YEARS: Education Kit." N.p., 2005. Web. <http://cultivoo.com/documents/articles/kusama1.pdf>.