Yayoi Kusama - Tate & Selfridges

I went to Yayoi Kusama's exhibition at Tate Modern earlier this year and wrote a blog post (below) at the time.  Just spotted this pic of the 'concept store' in Selfridges.  Quite fab...must go and take a look.

I'm a bit embarrassed to say I didn't know much about Yayoi Kusama, the eighty two year old Japanese artist, before visiting Tate Modern's exhibition (Feb-June 2012) which covers nearly fifty years of her work.  

She's had quite an incredible and troubled life and has for the past 35 years of her life, lived as a resident by choice in a psychiatric care home in Tokyo.

In 1957 she had moved to New York, saying 'For art like mine.....Japan was too small, too servile, too feudalistic and too scornful of women'.  She became a fixture of the avant garde scene there during the 60s and there's plenty of this period including a 'warning, contains nudity' film of one of the happenings she curated where much dotty body painting took place.

Support for the exhibition has come from Louis Vuitton, and in July, with a colloborative collection called 'Infinitely Kusama'.  Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton's artistic director, who's a big fan, says "this will bring the work of Kusama to another audience.  For many people who don't look at art or go to galleries there will be a new venue, a new place to see this work, and to come to appreciate it through the eyes of Louis Vuitton.' Guess shopping is the new art!

There's some great little film about her life on their website.
http://www.louisvuittonkusama.com/en_WW/home.

It 'slightly' glosses over her childhood troubles.  In Tim Adam's review of the exhibition in The Observer, he says 'as a child, she claims to have experienced hallucinations, and nightmarish out of body experiences......at the same age as she was seeing her visions, she was forced by her mother to spy on her father in bed with his string of mistresses and geishas. She developed a loathing of phallic images, and an overwhelming fascination with voyeurism.'

I don't think LV will be focusing on the phalluses, but there are plenty on show at the Tate in the form of soft sculpture stitched onto all sorts of things including a rowing boat.  

My own personal picks were the smaller detailed paintings which seemed to be all about patterns in nature. I loved these paintings in the exhibition and the smaller ones in the first few rooms.