Tate Modern presents a Comprehensive Retrospective of Yayoi Kusama

artwork: Yayoi Kusama - "The Passing Winter" (detail), 2005, Installation - Collection of the Tate Modern, London. © Yayoi Kusama, Courtesy Yayoi Kusama studio inc. On view in "Yayoi Kusama" from February 9th through June 5th.


London.- The Tate Modern is proud to present “Yayoi Kusama” on view at the museum from February 9th through June 5th. Yayoi Kusama’s (b.1929) pioneering work spans over six decades and this exhibition will highlight the artist’s moments of most intense innovation. Kusama is one of Japan’s best-known living artists and since the 1940s she has developed an extensive body of work. From her earliest explorations of painting in provincial Japan to new unseen works, the exhibition will reveal a history of successive developments and daring advances, demonstrating why Kusama remains one of the most engaging practitioners today.

Conceived as a series of immersive environments, the exhibition will unfold in a sequence of rooms, each devoted to the emergence of a new artistic stance. Much of Kusama’s art has an almost hallucinatory intensity that reflects her unique vision of the world, whether through a teeming accumulation of detail or the dense patterns of nets and polka dots that have become her signature. She is renowned for her ‘environments’, large-scale installations of dazzling power that immerse the viewer. A highlight of the exhibition will be a new installation conceived especially for the show, “Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life” 2011, Kusama’s largest mirrored room to date. Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto, Japan in 1929. In her early career she immersed herself in the study of art, integrating a wide range of Eastern and Western influences, training in traditional Japanese painting while also exploring the European and American avant-garde. In the late 1950s, Kusama moved to the United States and during her time there worked tirelessly to position herself at the epicentre of the New York art scene.

artwork: Yayoi Kusama - "Self-Obliteration No.2", 1967 - Watercolour, pen, pencil and photocollage on paper - 40.4 x 50.4 cm. © Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios Inc. - On view at the Tate Modern, London untl June 5th.

The exhibition will include a group of Kusama’s first ‘Infinity Net’ paintings from her early years in New York, canvases covered in endlessly-repeated, scalloped brushstrokes of a single colour. Kusama forged her own direction in sculpture and installation, adopting techniques of montage and soft sculpture which historians have seen as influencing artists such as Andy Warhol and Claus Oldenburg. The exhibition will include “Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show” 1963, her first room installation, and a significant selection of her classic ‘Sex Obsession’ and ‘Food Obsession’ Accumulation Sculptures dating from 1962-68.

As the 1960s progressed, Kusama moved from painting, sculpture and collage to installations, films, performances and ‘happenings’ as well as political actions, counter-cultural events, fashion design and publishing. The exhibition will include Kusama’s iconic film “Kusama’s Self-Obliteration” 1968, capturing this period of performative experimentation, and an extensive selection of archive material that reveal how Kusama’s artistic activity extended beyond the bounds of the gallery. In 1973 Kusama returned to Japan where she continues to live and work today. The exhibition will include vibrant and evocative collages she created on her return, during a period in which she was also forging a parallel career as a poet and novelist. Major sculptural installations will be featured including The Clouds 1984, comprising one hundred unique black and white sprayed sewed stuffed cushions, and Heaven and Earth 1991, which features snake-like forms emerging from forty boxes. The exhibition will conclude with a series of works from the last decade including “I’m Here, but Nothing” 2000, in which a darkened domestic space is covered with fluorescent polka dots.

artwork: Yayoi Kusama - "Lingering Dream", 1949 - Pigments on paper - 136.5 x 151.7 cm. © Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios Inc. On view at the Tate Modern, London in "Yayoi Kusama" from February 9th through June 5th.

artwork: Yayoi Kusama - "I'm Here, but Nothing", 2000 - Dot sheet, ultra violet fluorescent lights, furniture, household objects Dimensions variable. © Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios IncLocated in central London on the banks of the river Thames, the Tate Modern is one of the family of four Tate galleries which display selections from the Tate Collection (named for Sir Henry Tate, a Victorian sugar merchant, whose donation formed the basis of the modern collection). Created in 2000 from a disused power station, the Tate Modern displays the national collection of international modern art, defined as art since 1900. By about 1990 it was clear that the Tate Collection had hugely outgrown the original Tate Gallery on Millbank. It was decided to create a new gallery in London to display the international modern component of the Tate Collection. For the first time London would have a dedicated museum of modern art. The Bankside power station had closed in 1982 and was available, a striking and distinguished building in its own right, it was in an amazing location on the south bank of the River Thames opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London. An international architectural competition was held attracting entries from practices all over the world. The final choice was Herzog and De Meuron, a relatively small and then little known Swiss firm (who have subsequently won the Pritzker Prize). A key factor in this choice was that their proposal retained much of the essential character of the building.

The power station was originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also created Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral, University libraries in Oxford and Cambridge, Waterloo Bridge, and the design of the famous British red telephone box. The Tate Modern opened in 2000 and became an instant hit with visitors from worldwide. Designed to handle up to 2 million visitors a year, it rapidly became the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 5 million visitors every year. Further expansion of the gallery has been a priority for some time, and a new extension is scheduled to open in 2012. Also designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the new extension will take the form of a ziggurat or pyramid with a sloping brick facade to match the original building. When completed, this will include galleries dedicated to photography, video, exhibitions and the community. The Tate collection of modern and contemporary art represents all the major movements from Fauvism onward. It includes important masterpieces by both Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and one of the world’s finest museum collections of Surrealism, including works by Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Joan Mirò. Its substantial holdings of American Abstract Expressionism include major works by Jackson Pollock as well as the nine Seagram Murals by Mark Rothko. There is an in depth collection of the Russian pioneer of abstract art Naum Gabo, and an important group of sculpture and paintings by Giacometti. Tate has significant collections of Pop Art, including major works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, also great examples of Minimal and Conceptual art. Tate also has particularly rich holdings of contemporary art since the 1980’s. Visit the museum’s website at … http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/