In my last post featuring a video of my trip, you’ll notice some of the footage was taken at the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the National Gallery of Singapore.
I sign up to a lot of art and design news and thankfully one source told me some of Kusama’s pieces have landed in Singapore. Just like the KAWS exhibition, the trip was mildly planned around this given that we flew with Singapore Airlines, Mom suggested to stop by Singapore for a couple of days. We do love visiting Singapore every now and then especially since their airport is so accommodating and the city is usually our main stopover to Jakarta.
I first heard about Yayoi Kusama when I saw a Louis Vuitton shopfront a couple of years ago. She collaborated with LV and this is what it looked like (courtesy of Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama):
Yep that’s George Clooney for the cover of W magazine and yep, that’s Yayoi in her trademark polka dot outfit. It is considered as one of the most successful art collaborations with a fashion house. The dots however aren’t seen as completely a playful pattern. Kusama says these dots are a representation of her childhood hallucinations where she constantly experienced reoccurring visions of repeating patterns during the events of World War II. Her work can be seen as a means of therapy for Kusama and even for viewers – a therapy of confronting a fear by representing it on a grand scale.
She spent lots of time hand painting polka dots or “infinite nets” as she refers them to in her life. They applied them onto canvasses, sculptures and then onto everything else that was a part of her life, even her body. Kusama’s family had their own plant nursery and she drew pumpkins and flowers with dots. She is literally the queen of polka dots.
I’m a fan of polka dots (not to the extremities of Kusama) so I was eventually lured into Louis Vuitton that day. I was fascinated by their shop design and their new range of leather-goods. It was like walking into an art installation, learning more about who Yayoi Kusama was.
The Yayoi cake in the cafeteria after the exhibition!
My current read is “Yayoi Kusama: Inventing the Singular” by lecturer, Midori Yamamura. A great read if you want to dig deep into Kusama’s life events, many of which affected the art she’s created to date.