Yayoi Kusama signing her art installation (2012)
(1929-03-22) 22 March 1929
Matsumoto, Nagano, Japan
|Known for||Painting, drawing, sculpture, installation art, performance art, film, fiction, fashion, writing|
|Movement||Pop art, minimalism, feminist art, environmental art|
Georgia O’Keeffe proposed that I live with her. She was in New Mexico then, and I wanted to be in New York.
You should create a work that is so valuable it might eventually sell at a high price, but you’ve got to concentrate on how you create that artwork.
Since my childhood, I have always made works with polka dots. Earth, moon, sun and human beings all represent dots; a single particle among billions.
Suppose I put polka dots all over my body and then cover my background completely with polka dots. The polka dots on my body, merging with those in the background, create an optically strange scene.
In my home country, there was a little shop with old books, but it was really in the countryside. You couldn’t find English books. I found this very avant-garde American art book that had information about Georgia O’Keeffe. I was very much impressed by her.
My mother was against me being an artist. She just wanted me to marry a rich man.
My art originates from hallucinations only I can see. I translate the hallucinations and obsessional images that plague me into sculptures and paintings.
More and more, I think about the role of the arts, and as an artist, I think that it’s important that I share the love and peace.
If there’s a cat, I obliterate it by putting polka dot stickers on it. I obliterate a horse by putting polka dot stickers on it. And I obliterated myself by putting the same polka dot stickers on myself.
New York is the place that made my and other artists’ dreams come true by giving us a chance to realise our ideas and concepts. It was a great place for making a presentation of artistic creation.
I have done all the work myself, not assistants. That’s why I’m in a wheelchair: I’ve been doing it physically – it’s hard labour – throughout my life.
With just one polka dot, nothing can be achieved. In the universe, there is the sun, the moon, the earth, and hundreds of millions of stars. All of us live in the unfathomable mystery and infinitude of the universe. Pursuing ‘philosophy of the universe’ through art under such circumstances has led me to what I call ‘stereotypical repetition.’
I have been taking every step toward the future every day through making many paintings and sculptures with my deep emotion hidden in my life.
I hope royalty continues forever. This is the thing that can contribute to peace throughout the world.
I love Damien Hirst. I respect his work a great deal, and I am happy that the polka dots I started using have become a symbol of love and peace around the world with everybody joining hands to use them in this way.
I have been using polka dots since I was a very young child. Only after that, it seems, have they been used throughout the rest of the art world.
Certainly, I devote my energy to both telling my personal life story and seeking self- obliteration. However, I will not destroy myself through art.
I want to create a thousand paintings, maybe two thousand paintings, as many as I can draw.
When I paint, some things come out, and I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I have such talent as a painter.
People ask about art and commercialism. I think that if someone tries to sell their work at a high price, that is the wrong way of doing it.
It doesn’t matter at all for me that I work in hospital or anywhere with limited space. Every day, I’m creating new works with all my might.
Polka dots can’t stay alone. When we obliterate nature and our bodies with polka dots, we become part of the unity of our environments.
When I was a child, I used to paint intently. The older I become, and the closer death approaches, the brighter my life gets day by day.
The reason I collaborate with Louis Vuitton is that Louis Vuitton is number one in the world, and I am honored to work with them.
I believe that eyes are very important motifs. That’s something that can discern the peace and love.
I wanted to start a revolution, using art to build the sort of society I myself envisioned.
While producing art works, illusions appear from time to time due to my mental illness. Every day is a struggle for me.
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.
I was in the U.S. about 15 years. Especially in New York. And then I came back to Japan.
Painting bodies with the patterns of Kusama’s hallucinations obliterated their individual selves and returned them to the infinite universe.
I am putting every effort toward creating my works from morning till night on every single day.
Basically, my idea and explorations on fashion have not changed; however, I believe I’m going state-of-the-art on fashion.
Forget yourself. Become one with eternity. Become part of your environment.
I would like to try harder to establish my thought and philosophy strongly and to go back to the universe with my love.