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Yayoi Kusama
Repetition GL.A by Yayoi Kusama - Contemporary

1996

$500,000

About

Repetition GL.A by Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) Acrylic and collage on canvas 41 x 31.8 cm (16 ¹/₈ x 12 ¹/₂ inches) Signed, dated, and titled in Japanese on the reverse Executed in 1996 Provenance Private collection, Japan Private collection, Hong Kong This work is accompanied by the registration card issued by the artist’s studio. Artist biography Japanese multi-media artist, writer and designer Yayoi Kusama graduated from Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts and relocated to New York City in 1958. Kusama has consistently traded on her identity as 'outsider' in many contexts – as a female artist in a male-dominated society, as a Japanese person in the Western art world, and as a victim of her own neurotic and obsessional symptoms. After achieving fame and notoriety with groundbreaking art ‘happenings’ and events, she returned to her country of birth in 1973 and is now Japan's most prominent contemporary artist. Initially associated with Abstract Expressionist, Kusama soon became an installation artist and associate of Andy Warhol, gaining international attention during the late 1960s for her provocative and hallucinatory ‘happenings’ that involved painting naked bodies with so-called ‘infinity nets’ made of brightly-coloured polka dots, a pattern thenceforward her favoured motif as a ‘way to infinity’. Inspired by the hallucinations she has experienced since childhood, the intricate lattice of paint that covers her famous Infinity Net canvases create in the negative spaces between the loops a polka dot pattern that fluctuates before the viewer. Kusama also creates installations that immerse the viewer in her obsessive vision of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space. Her interest remains in the uncanny texture and hierarchy of surfaces - canvases, mirrors, furniture, clothes, floors, walls, industrial objects as well as the human body – and the transgressive effect each exert upon the spaces they inhabit and define. The pumpkin has also become another central motif in Kusama’s iconography and has been described by her as a form of self-portraiture. Since 1977 she has lived voluntarily in a Tokyo psychiatric institution and much of her work has been marked with obsessiveness and a desire to escape from psychological trauma. Her extensive uniquely diverse body of work shares the characteristics of Surrealism, Minimalism, Pop Art, Abstraction, Conceptual and Performance art and yet continues to defy neat categorisation. Over the past twenty years, there have been major international exhibitions of Kusama’s work. In 1998 a significant retrospective of her work opened at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, travelling to New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Tokyo’s Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2016 Kusama was selected as one of TIME Magazine’s World 100 Most Influential People.

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About the Artist

Yayoi Kusama

Widely inspirational and innovative artist Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929) has a body of work that is exceptionally varied, ranging from graphic prints and paintings to polka-dot pumpkin sculptures, large-scale installations and fashion design.Even if you don’t know her name, you’ve likely experienced Kusama’s art — or have seen it on Instagram. Her soft sculptures and dazzling “Infinity Mirrors” are the stuff of selfie-takers’ dreams, but Kusama’s impressive decades-long career certainly holds far more cachet than it does fodder for today’s aspiring social-media influencers.Born in Matsumoto, Japan, in 1929, Kusama has worked with her signature polka dots since the age of 10, when she began to experience vivid hallucinations and claimed that patterns and dots were moving around her, swallowing up everything in view. She started to incorporate them into her paintings as a child. Kusama saw circular forms and nets on every surface and became especially fascinated with the pebbles that lined the bottom of the creek near her childhood home. Her family was sternly opposed to her art and her mother physically abused Kusama and discouraged her at a very early age. She has suffered psychological turmoil her whole life and is vocal about her mental illness. Today, Kusama is a voluntary resident at a psychiatric facility in Tokyo, and she calls her work “art medicine.”At the Kyoto School of Arts and Crafts, Kusama trained in Nihonga, a traditional style of Japanese painting that originated during the Meiji period. On advice she solicited from painter Georgia O'Keeffe, a pioneer of modernism in America whom she greatly admired, she subsequently moved to New York City in 1958. There, Kusama flourished, creating prescient sculptures and large-scale monochrome paintings that bridged current styles with minimalism, which hadn’t yet achieved any kind of prominence as an art movement. She pushed boundaries with her “Accumulations” series, which saw her transforming found furniture pieces into sexualized objects, as well as with an avant-garde staging of theatrical orgies on the street — both stemming from her anxieties about sex as well as an endeavor to make a feminist statement about patriarchal authority and sexism.Kusama was captivated by Surrealists as well as the Abstract Expressionists and greatly influenced the Pop artists who followed, befriending such icons as Donald Judd — who called her work “the best paintings being done” — and Andy Warhol, with whom she exhibited and later accused of stealing her ideas. Kusama moved with ease through artistic circles and made a point to draw attention to her “otherness” as a Japanese woman by wearing kimonos to her openings.In 2021, Kusama brought her floral and vegetal sculptures to the New York Botanical Garden and her works can be found in the collections of many of the world’s top museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. She famously collaborated with Louis Vuitton in 2012, and she created a 34-foot-tall balloon for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan in 2019, becoming the first female artist to design a work for the event. In addition to her visual artwork, Kusama is a writer, publishing poetry, novels and an autobiography.Find a collection of Yayoi Kusama art on 1stDibs.
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