gallery | The cosmic and infinite polka dots of Yayoi Kusama color the Guggenheim in Bilbao

Some say that is valuable Yayoi Kusama equivalent to a A multicolored and psychedelic theme park It does not result in the slightest deviation in the viewer’s sensitivity. While others see the opposite, under this guise happy flower Who weaves webs of dots endlessly hides a tortured existence And a haunting look, an epitome of our contemporary lives that are bright on social media but hazy in violent reality. The 94-year-old Japanese artist, who lived for more than 45 years in voluntary confinement in a psychiatric hospital, was known only to those who remembered her intense passage but was later erased by New York in the 1960s. A decade has become A global phenomenon both from a commercial point of view As – above all and with the support of social networks – for the benefit of the public.

Today Kusama is a brand in its own right. Thus, his iconic red-wig-haired persona was used as a giant botched doll last March at a Louis Vuitton building in Paris, while robots with his appearance were built in London, Tokyo and New York.

general popularity

Large exhibition spaces know this Kusama will guarantee a smash hit with visitors Not particularly interested in art. Five million people have visited its exhibitions in recent years. His calling power is impressive. In museums that have hosted his work in New York, Washington, or London, you can wait several hours to access his private world of infinite perspectives with limited time, in some cases just over half a minute.

This will not be the case Guggenheim Museum BilbaoWhich will host the exhibition from Tuesday until October 8th Yayoi Kusama, from 1945 to todaya retrospective that follows all of his work through paintings, drawings, sculptures, installations, and archival materials documenting his work events And offersnot through a chronological excursion but along his thematic obsessions: accumulation, The radicalism of the 1960s, the idea of ​​biocosm, death and colorful positivism vitality in his later years.

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From the brand new organization Hong Kong M+ Museumwhich specifically opened its doors in November 2021 with this sponsored exhibition Dorum Chung and Mika Yoshitake, Bilbao will be the only stop on the itinerary, for which it is combined Lucia Aguirre In guardianship “This is undoubtedly the ultimate specimen as it includes 11 very recent pieces, produced during the pandemic, that the artist has not shared with the public” Chong explains. At the same time that Aguirre proved his deep intention: “We want to delve into his work, among other things do justice For not acknowledging enough and claiming its historical significance & rdquor;.

Naive and annoying moles

Kusama’s story via Van Gogh Bob Narratively, she has everything to make a deep impression on whoever meets her, and in fact, she risks making her life seem more fantastic than her work. The artist was born into a wealthy family in rural Japan, dedicated to the cultivation of flowers, the arrangement of which is one of the great traditions of the country, ikebana. Armed with paper and pencils, the little girl would go into the fields, and there one day, as if a class by class. Alice in WonderlandHe felt how the flowers gathered together and spoke to him.

They did too pumpkinswhich today has been transformed into sculptures up to Half a million euros on the market. There were more hallucinations: back in the river rocks that passed near his house, he thought he saw the sun, moon, and stars turning into points, an obsessive escape from the universe. Actually, it is moles -in japanese, misotamawater droplets- is one of the most distinctive figures in his work. Innocent in appearance but annoying at the same time. “Our Earth is just a mole among the millions of stars in the universe. Moles are the path to infinity.”

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He was 28 years old in 1957 when he came to art scene in new york, On a journey that also meant leaving the oppressive Japanese society towards women. As he recalled in his memoirs, he survived by saving fish heads that had been thrown into the garbage which he had boiled to make soup. In the same book also accuses Andy Warhol And Claes Oldenburg By owning their thoughts and thus achieving their invisibility for many years. Being racist and feminine It wasn’t a good calling card at the time, not even in New York, the cradle of modernism.

cadaver paint

But she hasn’t given up her efforts to use the media and turn her creations into a show in a way not far from Warhol’s. Like him, he wanted nothing more than his 15 minutes of fame. So She walked through one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York, dressed as a geishaHe personally sold his 1,500 reflective balls for $2 each Venice Biennale And painted over and over at parties in the Big Apple approx naked bodies Of all those who dared to distinguish moles. Those were times Anti-Vietnam demonstrations in which he also participated. However, this advertising and commercial enthusiasm served as a launching pad for an author Campbell’s Soup Cans I influenced her and plunge it into oblivion.

In the seventies he decided to return to his country. His partner, the fine artist, died Joseph Cornell The closest he’s ever been to a couple in his life, perhaps because, as he has come to say, Neither of them liked sex. Her childhood hallucinations also returned, and in 1977, she actually entered Tokyo Psychiatric hospital In it he spent the rest of his life, which, although under an open system, allowed him to express himself artistically. And this, he confirms in his few interviews, may have saved his life.

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today, at 94, still working, Although the pandemic forced him to focus on small jobs because he couldn’t travel to his workshop two blocks from the medical center, where he worked on larger pieces. It can be said that he has not stopped creating for seven decades. “Unlike other artists, she has always talked about her mental health issues and made it an asset,” Chung says.

In creative isolation, Kusama Live very austere and even become his own clothes. The irony is that the work generated by his work, promoted by a team working in New York, Tokyo and London, is incalculable. Today she is one of the most valued female artists having completed one of her works 10 and a half million dollars. The artist is also a puzzle that contains a file The indefatigable joy of living, Not devoid of a sense of humor, as evidenced by Mirrored room of infinityan immersive installation on display only at the Yayoi Kusama Museum in Tokyo, which transports the visitor here in Bilbao into a hallucinatory realm where they can feel the vertigo of the universe and at the same time the life force that the author calls upon.

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