Text by Akira Tatehata. Poem by Yayoi Kusama
Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived In Heaven offers an in-depth look at the multifaceted practice of this pioneering artist. Over the span of six decades, Kusama’s work has transcended two of the most important art movements of the second half of the twentieth century—pop art and minimalism—drawing vocabulary from both to forge a hallucinatory visual style that is distinctly her own. As articulated by art critic and poet Akira Tatehata, “the genius that generates [Kusama's] fertile artistic world, a paean to life, is driven by obsessive thoughts”—and her extraordinary and highly influential career encompasses works in various mediums that unfailingly conjure both microscopic and macroscopic universes at once.
Kusama’s critically acclaimed inaugural 2013 exhibition at David Zwirner in New York marked the debut of large-scale square-format acrylic on canvas paintings. This vibrant publication—printed with multiple inks at the highest quality to fully capture the dazzling glow of Kusama’s colorful canvases—opens with a selection of these works, which anchored the gallery presentation. Integrating motifs that evoke the cosmic and the primordial, from ethereal to earthly, and embodying the unique amalgamation of representational and non-representational subject matter has been recurrent in Kusama’s practice.
Also featured are stills of the video installation, SONG OF A MANHATTAN SUICIDE ADDICT, as well as stunning panoramic views of the exhibition’s two infinity rooms, including INFINITY MIRRORED ROOM – THE SOULS OF MILLIONS OF LIGHT YEARS AWAY, which was hailed by The New York Times as encouraging “the ultimate selfie.” The other room,LOVE IS CALLING, stands out as among the artist’s most immersive environments to date: a darkened, mirrored room illuminated by inflatable, tentacle-like forms covered in the artist’s signature polka dots, extending from floor to ceiling and slowly shifting color.
Concluding the publication, an original poem written by Kusama herself, After the Battle, I Want to Die at the End of the Universe, contextualizes her fascinating practice: “Having always been distressed over how to live,” she writes, “I have kept carrying the banner for pursuit of art.”