Did you ever think a giant pumpkin covered in polka dots would ever be a global sensation? Yayoi Kusama has been around for decades creating weird and wacky art. Now in the world of social media, her pieces around the world are recognizable to even the least artsy individuals.
Kusama’s work plays on the senses with repetitive patterns on objects, filling whole rooms, public sculptures and trippy walk-in installations. If you haven’t seen her work first hand, you’ve definitely heard of the giant pumpkins in Japan or Mirror Infinity Rooms that you can visit all over the world.
Who is Kusama
It may surprise you to know, if you didn’t already, that the 89-year-old has voluntarily been living in psychiatric hospital for the past 40 years. It is well known, and she is completely open about the whole thing. This never stopped her from making new works, and continues to make art till this day. According to Kusama, her repetitive work helps her makes sense of her occasional hallucinations.
She has been experiencing hallucinations since she was a kid, which we can only imagine must have been really hard to deal with. This goes hand in hand with her work with dots that started around the age of 10.
We can’t say that we’re happy for her hallucinations, but her work is so unique and engaging, it’s hard to look away. It seems that we all like to escape our reality, and immerse ourselves in her world, even just for half a minute. A New York gallery restricted people coming to check out the infinity rooms to 30 seconds because people were waiting over 2 hours in line.
When you poke your head through the hole, each of the small ball lights reflects off different parts of a mirror, creating an infinite amount of small lights. She definitely didn’t have social media in mind when creating these spaces but people line up for hours for the perfect selfie.
Making It in the Fashion World
Her work has caught the eye of everyone, including the big brands like Louis Vuitton who have made collaborations using her patterns as sets and inspo for collections.
Before all of this, she was doing it herself anyway. The one of a kind artist was already pushing boundaries in her twenties, dressing in bodysuits that matched her artwork.
The crazy part is, for most of her life she wasn’t recognized as an established artist even though her work hasn’t changed over the years. She was always known, forcing people to engage with her work even at the Venice Biennale in 1966, but only in recent years she has been appreciated as much as she is now.