She began “obliterating” items with dots as early as the age of 10, using canvases, everyday items, gourd installations, and penis-shaped intrusions that were another trademark of hers. Kusama is also known for her Mirror/Infinity rooms, an installation where an entire room is lined with mirrors and neon-colored balls to create the illusion of a never-ending space. Equally popular are her Body Festivals in the 60s where naked participants were covered in dots.
Statue of Venus Obliterated by Infinity Nets No. 2 / 1998 / mixed media and Sex Obsession (Gold Dress) / 1999 / dress, stuffed sewn fabric, gold paint
Mimosa / 1980 / marker pen on paperboard and Hat / 1978 / watercolor on paperboard and others
Yayoi Kusama merchandise
Because of her hallucinations, Kusama is voluntarily staying at the Seiwa Hospital for the Mentally Ill, where she continues to make art. Her influence is such that she is a respected artist in the avant-garde genre and has inspired artists like Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.
Yayoi Kusama merchandise
Today, Kusama’s works are revered around the world, with exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Tate Modern in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in LA, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among many others.
The collectors Lito and Kim Camacho
Lito and Kim Camacho are two of the leading Filipino collectors of Kusama art, mounting for display their vast collection of art and merchandise. The couple first saw Kusama’s art in 2004 at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo for Yayoi Kusama: Eternity-Modernity. Some time later, the couple got to meet the artist in her hospital residence. According to Kim, she showed up in Kusama sunglasses, dress, wellingtons, and bag. Kusama was amused and ended up signing the bag and the wellingtons. According to Kim, this may be the only signed Kusama merchandise in the world.
The exhibit is one of the Ayala Museum’s many activities. I Love Kusama is part of the Ayala Museum’s Collectors Series, a program to showcase the selections from leading private collectors in curated thematic exhibitions. The Ayala Museum launched the exhibit for the 40th year of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation and the Philippines-Japan Friendship Month. The museum has also invited Akira Tatehata, one of the world’s leading experts on Kusama and the curator the Japanese Pavilion during the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993 (when Kusama represented the country) for a one-time lecture on Aug. 10, 4 p.m., at the Ground Floor Lobby. The exhibit will be on display until September 1.
So when in Manila and you want to enter Kusama’s dotty world, there’s no place else to go but the Ayala Museum!
The Ayala Musem
A | Dela Rosa Street, Makati City
T | call 757-7117 to 21
F | theayalamuseum
T | @ayalamuseum
Additional photos courtesy of the Ayala Museum
Get Dotty With Yayoi Kusama for I Love Kusama!