Go See – Madrid: Yayoi Kusama at Museo Reina Sofia through September 12th, 2011

August 24th, 2011

Yayoi Kusama at Museo Reina Sofía, installation view, via Museo Reina Sofia

A major retrospective of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (born 1929) is on view at Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid until September 12th, 2011. The exhibition assembles Kusama’s multimedia projects and includes drawings, paintings, collages, installation, performance, literary, and design pieces. Organized by the Museo Reina Sofía and the Tate Modern, the exhibition explores the relationship between art and the socio-cultural reality in the past 50 years as reflected through Kusama’s work. Since the late 1950’s, Kusama has been associated with pop, first generation feminist art, minimalism, happenings, conceptual and installation art. Her work addresses and reveals the mental health issues the artist has experienced since the late 1970’s, visible through her “use of repetition, monochrome, and grids.”  However, as the curator Frances Morris reminds, “we need to balance the obvious framework of her mental health with the framework of art history and cultural milieu in which she operated over time.” Already shown in the Pompidou Centre, Paris at the beginning of 2011, this one-artist retrospective will travel to the Tate Modern, London in February 2012 and the Whitney Museum, New York in June 2012.  The exhibition traces Kusama’s artistic development through a number of periods.

More story and images after the jump…

Yayoi Kusama at Museo Reina Sofía, installation view, via Artist’s Web-page

Pop art in the 1960’s aimed to “integrate arts with life” by adopting imagery from consumer society and mass media culture. In a considerable number of projects, Kusama used a cheerful polka dot pattern usually associated with the clothing industry. Fashion designers often return to the vintage polka dots “to lure budget-conscious consumers back to buying clothes” evoking times of optimism and prosperity. Kusama covers the interior and exterior surfaces, people, and objects with polka dots, commenting on notions of joy and optimism in every-day life.

Yayoi Kusama, Self Obliteration, 1967 via Museo Reina Sofia

The first generation feminist artists in the 1960’s and the 1970’s explored the concept of womanhood and the way art could help break the stereotypes linked to femininity. Frequently associated with this stream, Kusama covered recognizable every-day objects, such as furniture, with phallus-like endings offering her own interpretation of gender roles and human sexuality.

Yayoi Kusama, Accumulation no.2, 1962 via Museo Reina Sofia

Yayoi Kusama at Museo Reina Sofía, installation view, via Museo Reina Sofia

The idea of integration of art and life was not reflected only through Kusama’s art. The  Museo Reina Sofía organized the public presentation of this exhibition as a part of the larger museum activity named “Encuentros,” which ensures the public participation in the Museum’s work. On May 11, 2011 the public was invited to discuss the concept of the exhibition in relation to Kusama’s career with the curator Frances Morris.

-A. Marjanovic

Related Links:

Exhibition Page [Museo Reina Sofía]
Artist’s Website [Yayoi Kusama]


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