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Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (b.1929) has pursued her principal themes of infinity, self-representation, sexuality and compulsive repetition since she took the New York art world by storm in the late 1950s with her 'Infinity Nets': a series of heroically-scaled paintings covered in endlessly repetitive net-like patterns, which won the admiration of artists ranging from Barnett Newman to the discriminating Donald Judd. In Kusama's installations and sculptures she compulsively covers every surface, either in polka dots (Infinity Mirror Room, 1965), mirrors (Endless Love Show, 1966) or phallus-like protrusions (Violet Obsession, 1994).
This book signifies the first ever monograph on the astounding 40-year career of this established, deeply daring and tirelessly experimental artist, who represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 1993. It was published to coincide with an exhibition in 2000 at the Serpentine Gallery.
Overall, Kusama is internationally respected for her soft sculptures and psychedelic installations, through which she also explores themes of love and obsession throughout her work, in all its diversity: from her net-like pattern paintings begun in 1959, to her Pop-inspired love happenings in the 1960s, to installations whose every surface has been completed boundlessly by a complex but always distinct pattern.
A visionary whose work is unique in the panorama of post-war art, Kusama is known not only as an artist but also as a fashion designer, poet, novelist and film-maker -- all documented in this uniquely comprehensive monograph.
American art historian and Museum of Modern Art curator Laura Hoptman examines in her Survey the gradual transitions in the artist's work, from painting to performance to installation, in the context of her international artistic contemporaries. Japanes poet and critic Akira Tatehata discusses with the artist her own evolving relationship with her work and how it is received in Eastern and Western contexts. German-born art historian Udo Kultermann focuses on the artist's seminal installation work Driving Image (1959-64), which he exhibited in Essen, Germany, in 1966. For Artist's Choice, the artist has selected tanka poems by Takuboku Ishikawa (1886-1912), a renowned Japanese poet who, like Kusama, combined the expression of personal suffering with great formal innovations in his work.
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Maverick septuagenarian artist Yayoi Kusama has spent the last 20 years in a mental hospital in Tokyo, where she has immersed herself in art therapy to help her with her obsessive neurosis. Feeling ostracised by Japan, she went to America in 1958, where for the next 15 years she developed her distinctive imagery of dots, dried macaroni and protuberances, the latter of which, the antithesis of the dots, are phalluses or tumorous root vegetables depending on your delectation. The dots of the so-called "Affinity Nets", rash-like in their spread and obvious itch for her, are the result of a childhood hallucination and their continual repetition serves as a means of self-annihilation, be it on huge canvases, everyday objects or people. In America she also organised frequent Happenings in public places, usually involving nudity and, yes, dots. Since her re-discovery by the world in 1993 when she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale, she has had a wildly successful retrospective back in America and a London exhibition for which Phaidon have produced this excellent explanatory monograph, replete with interviews (including one with British enfant terrible Damien Hirst), an enthusiastic essay, excerpts from her own writing, accompanied by photographs of her installations and nostalgic stills of the Happenings.
Like Louise Bourgeois, another &eacaute;migr&eacaute; to America, Kusama draws on a psychic disturbance attributable to an abusive childhood to inform her art, using her new location as a blank canvas for an unashamedly rampant egotism. For someone so scornful of association with art movements such as Pop Art or Surrealism, her works evolved alongside them with remarkable ease and her dynamic self-publicising activities link her with Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys, to name but two. From the prolific whorls and mass reproduction of this proverbial leopard comes an exultant heady release that has developed through changes in medium that only the rigid continuity of substance can allow. In the absence of the physical works themselves, this enlightening volume evokes a reminder of Kusama's singular and survivalist vision, as frightening as it is playful and sensual. --David VincentReview:
"This book is a fine collection of her influential and beautifully turbulent work."―Creative Review
"A handome monograph."―Modern Painters
On the Contemporary Artists Series
"The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about."―Artforum
"The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art."―Time Out
"A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists."―The Sunday Times
"Gives the reader the impression of a personal encounter with the artists. Apart from the writing which is lucid and illuminating, it is undoubtedly the wealth of lavish illustrations which makes looking at these books a satisfying entertainment."―The Art Book
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Book Description Phaidon Press, 2000. French Fold Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. MInt copy in wraps Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. Seller Inventory # 025450
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Book Description Phaidon Press, 2000. Taschenbuch. Condition: Neu. Neu neuware, importqualität, auf lager - A comprehensive overview of the visionary work of the Japanese artist. 160 pp. Englisch. Seller Inventory # INF1000392245