Be one with Kusama

Great Gigantic Pumpkin by Kusama Yayoi, Daegu Art Museum. (Photo: Lee Su-hyun)

Great Gigantic Pumpkin by Kusama Yayoi, Daegu Art Museum.
(Photos: Lee Su-hyun)

A Dream I Dreamed, an exhibition of works by Kusama Yayoi, one of the hottest modern artists, was held at Daegu Art Museum from July 16 to November 3. 118 pieces of Kusama’s works including paintings, installations, and even video were on display. Because of the exhibition’s large scale, there was much anticipation by the public before its opening.

Although Kusama is famous for her collaboration with luxury brand Louis Vuitton, she had already been recognized for her artistic value in the world of modern art. She achieved global fame by channeling her obsessive compulsive disorder and hallucinations through artistic motifs of nets and dots. We can, of course, continue to find these motifs in even her recent works.

The Moment of Regeneration by Kusama Yayoi, Daegu Art Museum. (Photo: Lee Su-hyun)

The Moment of Regeneration by Kusama Yayoi, Daegu Art Museum.

To understand Kusama’s art, we can’t help thinking about her life. She lived through the Second World War, family violence, and poverty. Moreover, her symptoms of schizophrenia made her obsessive compulsive disorder and hallucinations get worse. When Kusama was ten years old, she started putting her illusions in a sketchbook. For Kusama, art was way to express herself.

The reason why Kusama’s art is so interesting is her creative and diverse methods of expression. At this exhibition, we could experience Kusama’s “Dot pattern” works in many ways. “The Obliteration Room” was the most popular work on display. A normal room with white walls became a work of art by putting round stickers all over it. Through this, every visitor to this exhibition contributed to this work of art. These methods of expression may definitely be easy, but they are also significant and memorable.

Obliteration Room by Kusama Yayoi, Daegu Art Museum. (Photo: Lee Su-hyun)

Obliteration Room by Kusama Yayoi, Daegu Art Museum.

Besides her installation artwork, Kusama’s paintings offer a unique opportunity to get a sense of her hallucinations. Infinite repetitive patterns and dot patterns with wonderful colors contain the entirety of her mental space creating the illusion of changing one’s eyes or brain with Kusama’s. Despite being just a piece of canvas, her paintings had an aura that could be felt.

In some ways, Kusama Yayoi has an unfortunate destiny. In another way, however, her mental illness has been a blessing for an artist such as herself. Do you want to meet Kusama Yayoi? Then appreciate her work. It will help you to know Kusama and even provide you with inspiration.

Lee Su-hyun

Major: Social Welfare Interests: NGOs, modern art, museums, photograph, movies, indie music, British rock, Jeju Island, and magazines

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